Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 July 2008

London bus drivers' protest

Decent pay for all

End the race to the bottom

Generally the public are alright. When they understand what bus workers face, they are on our side. Most bus workers do a six-day week to make ends meet. Sometimes we're pushed to the legal limit of five and a half hours driving without a break. There are horrible shifts and a lack of toilet facilities. Before I did this job, I wondered why bus drivers are so grumpy. Now I'm surprised we're not worse!

A London bus worker

Pay at different London bus firms varies widely. Bosses say they must drive down costs to compete for Transport for London routes. Their main 'cost' is our wages. One of the main purposes of the privatisation of London Bus in the mid-1990s was to break bus workers' unity - 'divide and rule'.

Hundreds of us will be demonstrating noisily across Tower Bridge to City Hall on Thursday 24 July. It's not a strike, so most of London's 28,000 bus workers will be working. Our union, Unite, is calling for one equally high rate of pay for all London bus workers to end the 'race to the bottom' between competing bus firms.

Over the last couple of years bus workers in some companies have taken industrial action over the attacks on pay and conditions. Further strikes seem very likely at some London bus garages this year. Those in other firms will soon demand the same when they see only united action can win a decent wage for us all.

Bus driving can be a very frustrating job - if you let it wind you up. The slow-moving traffic doesn't particularly worry me - it might annoy passengers but I'm not personally going anywhere (unless I'm finishing work). Cars, bikes and pedestrians constantly cut in front of me. They show a confidence in my driving skills and ability to see round corners that astonishes me!

Some drivers become frustrated with passengers ('an empty bus is a happy bus!') and with some passengers the feeling is mutual! All I ask is that they get on and let me do my job. If they board when the bus is already full my bus can't go anywhere.

Rocket science it ain't, but some people want an argument, holding up the bus for everyone. Meanwhile, the empty bus behind serenely glides past!

But it is the attacks on our pay and conditions that really make the job so hard. Socialists try to remove all barriers to the growing demands for united action. In particular, we say it's wrong that our union still gives huge donations to New Labour - a party which upholds privatisation and defends the bosses' attempts to keep pay down. We need a new workers' party.

We say bring London buses back into public ownership - but with democratic control. Take private profit out of public transport!

Donate to the Socialist Party

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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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 special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 22 July 2008:

Stop The Gas Price Rip-Off

Car taxes add to inflation misery

Local government strike

Build further action after successful council strike

Reports of the Unsion strike

Pictures of the Unison strike

Socialist Party workplace news

Argos workers strike against insulting pay offer

London bus drivers' protest

PCS strikes

Usdaw election

Socialist Party news and analysis

Punishing the jobless for being jobless

Bankers' dirty tricks?

International socialist news and analysis

Say no to military attack on Iran

Political impasse in the Kurdish region of Iraq

Pakistan: 50,000 textile workers strike


Home   |   The Socialist 22 July 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Bus workers:

triangleTransport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

triangleHackney school bus workers win pay increase following strikes

triangleUnions must fight to make bus drivers and passengers safe

triangleThe NSSN in Brighton lobbying the TUC, 8.9.19. A report will be posted soon. photo by Mary Finch

triangleStagecoach strike - bus workers show how it's done


triangleNorth London: Socialist Party speaks at BLM protest

triangleSocialist Party meetings: Online and in-person

triangleYoung Socialist day of action

triangleSick pay victory at Homerton hospital!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



'First you clap us then you slap us'


Young Socialists

Young Socialist day of action


Socialist Party

Campaign stalls on jobs, pay, NHS and racism


Black Lives Matter

North London: Socialist Party speaks at BLM protest



Engage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online


Socialist Party

Why I joined - Covid changed my outlook


Socialist Party

Socialist Party meetings: Online and in-person


Young Socialists

A-level results day 2020: Fight for our future!



GE Aviation workers march to save jobs



80 years since the murder of Leon Trotsky rally



Fighting to end racism and capitalism



Doncaster: Vigil for murdered women


The Socialist

The Socialist summer schedule



Unite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts



Oppose BT site closures - national strike ballot needed

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: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020