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Posted on 17 July 2019 at 16:26 GMT

Unite the Union members employed as drivers and passenger assistants by Hackney council have been taking action. July 2019

Unite the Union members employed as drivers and passenger assistants by Hackney council have been taking action. July 2019   (Click to enlarge)

Hackney transport strike - blockade foils employers

Socialist Party reporters

Unite the Union members employed as drivers and passenger assistants by Hackney council have been taking action, including strike action, in support of a campaign to compensate workers who undertake split shifts.

The actions on strike days have gradually escalated so that there were demonstrations every day by supporters of the strike which blocked buses being driven by the small number of strike breakers.

On the last day of the current round of strikes, the employers thought that they would be clever - the buses were taken out of the depot the previous evening and parked in a private car park, which they thought was out of sight, apart from the top deck of a double decker bus, which is indeed how this cunning plan was rumbled.

On the morning, campaigners parked cars across the entrance to the car park while the strikers occupied the pavement - meaning that in fact no buses could move.

The action was extremely effective - leading to the Director of Education visiting and attempting to coordinate the very unsuccessful attempt to break the strike.

This is a solid campaign - with new members joining the union and agency staff too have joined the strike.

While individual Labour Party members and the Constituency Labour Party have shown tremendous support, the response from councillors in a majority Labour council has been appalling.

One councillor who visited the depot - not to stand on the picket line but to assist with the strike-breaking exercise - said that the strikers should be happy with their wages (some take home less than 800 a month) but also that there was no "magic money tree" - wonder where he got that quote from?

This strike shows once again how important it is for Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to give clear direction to Labour councillors: no more austerity, implement fair pay for public service workers - but also, crucially that those councillors not prepared to fight austerity should be deselected.

Strikers have made it clear that unless the dispute is resolved, then following the school holidays there will be more, escalated strike action and campaigning.


Urgent appeal for funds for the strike

The employers have made deductions from pay for the strikers without any warning. While union members are getting national strike pay, most are part-time and as a result, their pay packet has been hit.

Please send financial donations and messages of support:

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 17 July 2019 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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Related links:

Hackney:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The role of the Socialist paper and social media

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: China today and the coronavirus

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: How can climate change be stopped?

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Marxism and History

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: How the poll tax was defeated

Transport:

triangleTransport union RMT demands action for coronavirus tube safety

triangleDefend the right to strike! Southampton solidarity meeting

triangleNationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system

triangleWill the North get investment and transport infrastructure?

Strike:

triangleRefuse collection workers strike

triangleBexley binworkers' strike wins sick pay from day one

trianglePostal workers deliver massive strike vote

Labour:

triangleClass collaboration and worker militancy in World War Two Britain

triangleLabour leadership election: Starmer wins but the fight for socialism goes on

Councillors:

triangleCamarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

Buses:

triangleSolidarity with victimised bus rep Moe

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