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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 June 2016
Buses parked three deep in Leeds strike
Striking bus drivers in Leeds photo Iain Dalton (Click to enlarge)
"They make £11 million in profits in Leeds alone, and all their offer adds up to is around half a million. It's a shame it has to come to this to get them to give us more." Those were the words of one of many Unite the Union members picketing the two First Group bus depots in Leeds on 13 June.
Over 100 pickets were at the Hunslet depot, while around 30 were outside Bramley. The latter was shut completely for the day. Buses were parked three deep at Hunslet around 8am. By that point the depot would usually be largely empty.
Management had prepared for the strike, sending buses to the disused Cherry Road depot and offering higher pay and bonuses to scabs and managers. But the number of buses operating was far less than the hundreds that usually run, probably not enough to run even the skeleton service that First tried to provide.
Drivers in Leeds are paid £2 an hour less than those in nearby Halifax. Bosses offered drivers a 3% raise for the year, half not be paid until January. Meanwhile managers have had an increase of up to 5% in pay and bonuses.
One worker explained that "in the past the union has just recommended to us what management has offered us, but this year they put it to us to decide whether we wanted to push for more." This more militant attitude reflects drivers winning a series of disputes in the last year or so.
Given the substantial disruption, most drivers were confident the company would be forced to come back with an improved offer. But even if Leeds drivers win a substantial increase, a logical next step would be for First drivers across West Yorkshire to push for a higher, unified rate of pay across all sites.
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In The Socialist 15 June 2016:
EU referendum: whatever the result, political turmoil is ahead
EU: busting the myths that Remain is best for the 99%
TUSC anti-EU tour touches down in Wales
BT Brexit baloney
Letters: EU referendum
International socialist news and analysis
Orlando massacre: working class unity to defeat homophobia, terrorism and racism
France: workers' revolt against labour law grows
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
Hilarious, innovative satire on state bureaucracy
Workplace news and analysis
Unison conference 2016: fighting leadership needed more than ever
GMB backs no-cuts budgets and steel nationalisation
Pennine Foods strike forces bosses back to the table
Hospital porters and domestic staff claim jobs and pay victory
Strike at Argos depot against contracting out of jobs
Buses parked three deep in Leeds strike
School support staff mobilise against slashing of pay
Uber drivers strike against unfair fares
Lorry stoppage paves the way to victory
Solidarity with victimised bakers' union rep
Action to defeat the Housing Act: we won't move!
Housing Act: landlords and developers set to profit
Generation rent demands affordable housing
Re-open Chorley A&E - end the staff shortages
Hands Off HRI campaign grows from strength to strength
Socialist Party news and analysis
Systemic failures hurt kids in justice system
Them & Us
Socialist Party fundraising: punching above our weight
The Socialist 15 June 2016 |
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