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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 June 2003

Dick Turpin rides again

"AT LEAST Dick Turpin wore a mask when he robbed the drivers" reads the strike placard at South Yorkshire First's main Sheffield bus garage.

Alistair Tice

Over 1,500 bus drivers, all transport union, TGWU members, went on strike for three days last week for better pay and conditions. They will strike again on 17,18 and 19 June. A 1,050-70 vote rejected a revised, supposedly improved, offer - mainly because of the strings which would mean drivers paying for their own pay rises.

This comes after years of the company tightening the screw on drivers' conditions. 42 drivers left the job last month alone. "Would you be abused, threatened and gobbed at for 5.36 an hour?" one driver asked.

It's not like the company can't afford it. Last year South Yorkshire First made around 10 million profit, about a quarter of First Group's total profit. Their offer amounts to about 1 million. "So where's the other 9.1 million going?" another driver asked. The answer is fat cat pay increases.

The First chairman's salary has gone up 59%. Another director gets 510,000 a year and was given 18,000 for a Range Rover. "His car cost twice as much as I earn a year" one driver said.

This same director's pension is worth 2.85 million, yet First workers have had to pay extra to maintain their pensions.

The strike is 100% solid. One striker walks five miles to the picket line every morning (no buses). With the strikes set to run into a second week, the mood is determined to win the 6-an hour claim for starter-drivers (currently 5.36), rising to 7 after two years (currently 6.49 after four years.)

Messages of support and donations to: Martin Mayer, TGWU, 2 Riverside Court, Meadowhall Road, Sheffield 9. 0114 256 2600

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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.

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In The Socialist 14 June 2003:

New Labour Isn't Working

Fighting For A Living Wage

Euro debate - independent workers' struggle needed

Iraq: Occupiers, Privatisers And Exploiters

France - millions keep up strike movement

Drop All Charges Against Day X Detainees

Tony Woodley Speaks To The Socialist

Unison And The Political Fund

Left Make Gains On Unison Executive

PCS Elections - Big Opportunities For The Left

Manchester: Electricians Fight De-Skilling

Dick Turpin rides again

Blair's Lies Sow Divisions At The Top

Bush's plan for an Israeli/Palestinian conflict settlement comes unstuck

Austria Over One Million Strike Against Pension Cuts

Iran 1978-79: A Revolution Stolen From The Working Class


 

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Related links:

Sheffield:

triangleCommunities condemn Tory handling of crisis - with safe protests

triangleYork Socialist Party: After Starmer's victory - how to continue the struggle for socialism

triangle'Roses are red, violets are blue, BP and Shell - we're coming for you'

triangle"If you think bus and rail services are crap, sign our petition to take them back"

triangleSheffield Socialist Party: Tories out! Corbyn in with socialist policies

Drivers:

triangleFight continues for safety on London buses

triangleTransport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

triangleNo increase in transport capacity without adequate safety precautions

triangleLondon bus drivers' action over safety stops front door boarding

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triangle1920s Britain: A "country nearer Bolshevism than at any time since"

triangleThe Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2

trianglePlymouth students discuss rent strike

Pay:

trianglePCS pay claim: Vital work unrecognised

triangleFurlough: We are not 'all in the same boat'

TGWU:

triangleThe 45th anniversary of the strike

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