Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26173
London bus drivers' rally
Moe, Unite branch secretary and bus worker
Safety campaigners, taxi drivers and cyclists came to support the London bus drivers' rally outside City Hall on Thursday 14 September 2017 at 09.30 in response to the Driven to Distraction report.
Bus drivers attended to hand over Unite's 'Bill of Rights' to Transport for London (TfL) and the London mayor to implement, for the safety of passengers, public and bus workers.
The rally started off with a minute's silence for the Grenfell disaster - the inquiry into the fire began on the same day as our rally.
- Caroline Russell, a Greater London Assembly (GLA) member, spoke first, about the number of accidents and the lack of attention to safety from TfL. She further said: "We know that it is not the fault of the people who drive the buses, it is the fault of the system".
- Steve Turner, Unite assistant general secretary, said that Unite will support whatever it takes to ensure that bus drivers are treated with dignity and respect.
- Steve Clements, a London bus driver who had recently suffered a heart attack, expressed how difficult the job is. The amount of stress and fatigue is unbelievable.
- Jim Kelly, a taxi driver and Unite's London and Eastern chair, said that it was disappointing to see London mayor Sadiq Khan disappointing bus workers and the people of London who elected him.
- Steve Hedley, transport union RMT's assistant general secretary, said that RMT is backing Unite bus workers and recommended that bus workers in London join Unite. Steve welcomed Jeremy Corbyn's policy to renationalise the railways and suggested that the buses should be renationalised too.
- Rob Williams, chair of the National Shop Stewards Network, said that all transport workers should unite with this campaign; and the GLA and Sadiq Khan should fight the government for funding. There should be a united anti-cuts campaign.
Overall, the bus drivers were angry and were calling for industrial action if the Bill of Rights is not implemented soon.