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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 March 2021

Bus workers under attack and fighting back

Picket line in Manchester. Photo: Unite North West

Picket line in Manchester. Photo: Unite North West   (Click to enlarge)

Rob Williams, Socialist Party industrial organiser

After being told that they are key workers, bravely transporting NHS staff and other key workers during the pandemic, bus workers are increasingly having to strike back against the bosses' attacks.

They risked their lives and, tragically, some lost their lives but it hasn't stopped the private bus companies moving to cut wages. Some such as Manchester's Go Ahead have done so through the brutal 'fire-and-rehire' offensive that has seen workers attacked from British Airways to British Gas.

Bus worker trade union reps have had to defend themselves against victimisation. RMT transport union rep in Hampshire, Declan Clune, has been sacked.

Unite union rep Moe Muhsin Manir in London, who led the successful campaign last year on bus safety during Covid, is fighting for his job.

His fellow rep, Judith Katera, has won her reinstatement after being sacked in December. This is a tremendous victory, showing that it's possible to stop union-busting, which attacks reps today in order to go for their members tomorrow.

But bus drivers are up for the fight. The workers in Manchester started indefinite strike action on 28 February.

Two thousand bus drivers in three subsidiaries of RATP in London are currently taking action for a second week, as Metroline drivers are balloted for strike action over 'remote sign-on' - another route to attack workers. In RATP, the owner is looking to play workers in the three companies off against each other, while attacking pay and terms and conditions.

But this goes to the root of the issue for many drivers - that bus services have been privatised and are owned by parasitic companies. In London, 18 bus companies employ nearly 25,000 workers - all on different contracts. This makes it far easier for the greedy profit-driven bosses to attack drivers.

The Socialist Party demands that all bus services are renationalised as part of a socialist publicly owned, environmentally friendly, transport service that is run by transport workers in the interests of the majority of society.

See 'why we need socialists in London city hall' and 'Manchester indefinite bus strike against 'fire and rehire''

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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.
  • 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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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In The Socialist 3 March 2021:


Budget

Not a budget for the working class!

Public sector workers respond to the budget


News

President of 'big four' Labour-affiliated trade union joins TUSC committee

Women's health matters


International Women's Day

A fighting programme for women's rights and socialism

A history of International Women's Day


What we think

Liverpool Labour meltdown - Fight for socialist policies


School safety

Schools' safety - teachers demand fighting union strategy


Features

'Casino capitalism' - driving another potential financial Armageddon

1981: New Cross Massacre


Workplace

Bus workers under attack and fighting back

Manchester indefinite bus strike against 'fire and rehire'

HMRC: Pay deal agreed but at what cost?

British Gas strike

Sparks force bosses back but fight continues to stamp out deskilling

Reinstate victimised bus driver Declan Clune

RAF Leeming strike escalates

Tech workers walk out against 'fire and rehire'

Victory for Judith, defend Moe


Campaigns

Why we need socialists in London city hall

Socialist Students conference

Swansea BLM protest against racist police brutality

Union fight to save musicians' livelihoods

Labour surrenders to Tories in Devon

Determined to smash the fighting fund target to fuel election challenge in May


 

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Related links:

Bus workers:

triangleMetroline London workers win huge victory

triangleBus workers protest Go-Ahead's 'fire and rehire'

triangleThousands of London bus workers strike across multiple companies

triangleReinstate Moe - stop trade union-busting at Abellio!

triangleManchester indefinite bus strike against 'fire and rehire'

Bus:

triangleThe story of Joe Clough - Britain's first black bus driver

triangleBirmingham Clean Air Zone a tax on the poor

triangleLondon Metroline strike against 'remote sign-on' goes ahead

triangleMetroline buses to face summer of strikes unless it drops 'remote sign-on'

Workers:

triangleIsrael: Hospital ancillary workers' strike suspended

triangleIn brief: News, reports & analysis from the CWI

triangleFight Freeports to stop bonfire of workers' rights

Drivers:

triangleHuge victory at Go North West as Unite defeats 'fire and rehire'

triangleGo Ahead offers deal to Manchester bus drivers

London:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Cuba protests - what do they represent?

Strike:

triangleBexley bin workers strike for better pay

Manchester:

triangleManchester & Salford Socialist Party: The Grenfell disaster

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triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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