Socialist Party Scotland
The Aberdeen bus workers’ strike is an inspiration to the entire trade union movement in Scotland and beyond.
The eleven days of action have sent a clear message to First and managing director Andrew Jarvis that workers will not be kicked around by profiteering bosses and their attempts to slash wages and working conditions in Aberdeen.
An indefinite strike began on 6 April. In effect First is demanding drivers work longer shifts for less pay. The removal of paid breaks alone would mean huge pay cuts for drivers.
Drivers could also be on the road for up to ten hours each day, while holiday entitlement would be reduced. In all, some drivers face pay cuts of up to £5,000 a year.
Unite members have rightly rejected the latest ‘offer’ from First which would still have meant severe reductions in pay and conditions.
However, First Bus bosses have been forced back by the strength, resolve and determination of the workers’ action. The overwhelming vote in favour of an escalation of the strike has rattled the employer.
Mike Flinn from Unite told Socialist Party Scotland: “First are cutting into drivers’ wages to achieve more profit. Drivers who are earning £25,000 are going to jump down as low as £19,000. They have rent and mortgages to pay and this cuts into it. How are they going to afford to pay their bills, or feed and clothe their kids?”
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