Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

Posted on 7 August 2018 at 16:37 GMT

London bus workers demonstrate outside City Hall, 14 September 2017, photo Paul Mattsson

London bus workers demonstrate outside City Hall, 14 September 2017, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Turn the heat on the bosses not the bus drivers!

By a London bus driver

Every year, the private bus operators in London are caught out unprepared in summer and winter for both hot weather and freezing conditions. But drivers are left to pay the price along with passengers.

This summer, the heatwave is the longest since 1976 - 42 years ago. It is no exaggeration to say that drivers and the public are being put at risk.

While most drivers are experiencing over 35°C in the cab, some have themselves recorded a scorching 46°C! This is totally unacceptable. While there is no legal maximum working temperature, the TUC has called for a limit of 30°C (27°C for those doing strenuous work) and says:

"If the temperature is slightly below that, employers should still attempt to reduce temperatures if they get above 24°C and workers feel uncomfortable ... [but] it is usually accepted that people work best at a temperature between 16°C and 24°C."

We need air-con in all buses. Transport for London (TfL) says that it is a requirement that air-con be fitted in all vehicles made after 2012 - but how many have been built since then? We can't wait! We suspect that the employers haven't carried out risk assessments, fearing the outcome. If this is the case, the union should report them to the Health and Safety Executive.

The starting point is establishing safe maximum and minimum working temperatures. Otherwise, managers will threaten drivers with disciplinary action.

We have to fight this together, not as individuals. And, because of our collective strength, no drivers have been disciplined for taking time off the job to recover from excessive heat.

However, the threat remains. We demand immediate measures to alleviate the situation that drivers face and prepare union members to take industrial action if nothing happens or if any drivers are threatened with disciplinary action.

We have to give drivers confidence. Just a couple of drivers being interviewed on TV this week has shone a spotlight on this situation.

Profits and cuts

This problem is yet another reminder to drivers that fractured private ownership of buses across London, where the only motive is profit at the expense of everything else, can't deliver for drivers in terms of safety as well as wages, terms and conditions.

This is made worse by TfL's budget cuts that will see the annual operating grant to TfL, currently nearly £700 million, reduced to nil by 2020. If we don't fight, this will be taken out of our pay packets.

We call on Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan to join with busworkers and our unions in fighting the budget cuts and building a mass campaign of defiance against the Tories.

If he refuses to implement these cuts, it would put huge pressure on the weak Tory government.

We also call on Jeremy Corbyn to pledge to re-nationalise London buses into one integrated transport network in the capital as part of a national nationalised system.

Virtually every month, transport workers on the buses and trains around the UK are taking strike action over pay, conditions and jobs.

Imagine the power that transport workers in London could deliver if we coordinate across TfL.

Socialist Party drivers play a prominent role in the Unite union 'United Left' London buses group and we encourage more bus drivers to get involved.

What we want:

Workers unity to defeat the racist far-right FLA

Busworkers were furious to learn that a Muslim female driver was blockaded by 'Free Tommy Robinson' supporters on the recent far-right Football Lads Alliance protest in London.

Later that day, RMT union members were attacked, including assistant general secretary Steve Hedley.

These incidents show the true racist and anti-union character of the FLA. They try to portray themselves as anti-establishment but their racist division only benefits the Tories and the bosses.

Therefore, it's vital that the trade unions are at the centre of building mass opposition to them on a fighting, anti-austerity basis.

Unite was prominent on the counter-protest and there was a delegation of London bus drivers - representing one of the most diverse workforces, who have showed over the last few years what can be achieved when workers are united.

NSSN TUC Congress rally - Sunday September 9th in Manchester

In the year of the 150th anniversary of the TUC, the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) will again be organising a rally before the start of TUC Congress.

It will be from 1pm on Sunday September 9th in the Manchester Mechanics Institute/Conference Centre, Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD.

Leaders from fighting unions will be speaking alongside rank amd file union reps and activists, including those who have been taking action.

Unite recently affiliated to the NSSN to become the 10th national union to officially support the NSSN. There will be transport from London.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

Related links:


triangleSocialist Party national women's meeting

triangleSocialist Party national congress

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: France - the Gilets Jaunes eruption

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Brexit - Will the Tories survive?

triangleWest London Xmas party


triangleFatal bus crash - an avoidable tragedy

triangleDriving London's buses - a laser in the eye and a boot up the bum!

triangleSouth Western rail workers launch five-day safety strike to save guards

triangleUber drivers strike against unfair 'deactivation' and low pay


triangleLeeds TUC conference to organise fight against austerity

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleVictory for left in RMT union president election


triangle"Horrendous" - Bristol's privatised buses

triangleAberdeen bus drivers strike against pay cuts


triangleLeeds meeting backs striking rail guards


triangleNSSN rally: militant trade unionists share ideas to win for workers

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



WHSmith: hands off our Post Offices!



Victory! Dinner ladies' strike beats job cuts


Socialist Students

Socialist Students conference date set


West Midlands

West Midlands Socialist Party women's meeting: our role in changing society



Leeds TUC conference to organise fight against austerity


Tyne and Wear

Socialist Party argues against fire service cuts at Tyne and Wear consultation



Fighting NHS and fire services cuts and closures in Merseyside



Join the march through Woking against austerity



Fight Cardiff Council's school cuts



Northamptonshire council crisis continues



Workplace news in brief



Bradford College joins #FEfightback strike for decent pay



Victory for left in RMT union president election



Blairite Birmingham steps up union-busting and two workforces plan strikes



Nat West's benefit-claimant eviction policy

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018