Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1123/32133
From The Socialist newspaper, 3 March 2021
Bus workers under attack and fighting back
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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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.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.
In The Socialist 3 March 2021:
Not a budget for the working class!
Public sector workers respond to the budget
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
Schools' safety - teachers demand fighting union strategy
'Casino capitalism' - driving another potential financial Armageddon
1981: New Cross Massacre
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
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
The Socialist 3 March 2021 |
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