Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1121/32041
The Socialist 17 February 2021 |
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Manchester Go North West bus drivers in all-out strike over fire and rehire dispute
Bus, photo Ad Meskens/CC (Click to enlarge)
Bus drivers employed by Go North West in Manchester will begin an all-out continuous strike from 28 February. The company is trying to fire and rehire its workers on vastly inferior contracts.
The 400 workers, who are members of Unite, returned an 82% 'yes' vote in favour of strike action.
If Go North West's fire-and-rehire proposals are implemented it will result in:
- A 10% cut in bus drivers
- Workers, who earn an average of £24,000 a year, forced to work longer for no additional pay, resulting in them being £2,500 a year worse off
- Tearing up the existing sick pay policy, which will force workers to work when they are sick or should be self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic
Go North West's parent company, Go Ahead, is hugely profitable. Its most recent accounts reveal it earned £1 billion from its bus division, with an operating profit of £121 million. The company paid dividends to shareholders, worth 102.80p per share.
Unite regional secretary Ritchie James said: "Unite gave Go North West the opportunity to withdraw its fire-and-rehire plans following the overwhelming vote for strike action, sadly it spurned this opportunity.
"If Go Ahead were allowed to implement its fire-and-rehire policies it would result in our members, who have been in the frontline since the pandemic began, having to work longer for far less money.
In the run-up to the strike, in an attempt to bully and intimidate workers, Go North West managers delivered letters to drivers' homes informing them that they had just eight days to accept the new contracts or be dismissed on 8 May.
The Socialist Party calls for an end to fire and rehire, no pay cut for drivers and renationalisation of bus services.