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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 November 2021

South Wales Stagecoach bus drivers win £10.50 an hour

Stagecoach workers' picket line in South Wales

Stagecoach workers' picket line in South Wales   (Click to enlarge)

Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales

After 17 days of strike action Stagecoach members of Unite at Cwmbran, Blackwood and Brynmawr depots have voted to accept a deal that wins a £1 an hour rise to £10.50, backdated to April. Attacks on sick pay and rights for new starters were also fought off.

Stagecoach had offered a measly £10.10 an hour which would be paid for by the workforce themselves through cuts to paid breaks and sick pay. The company claimed that that was the final offer but over four weeks of strike action was forced by the solidarity and determination of the workforce, to make concession after concession, until the rights of new starters was the only sticking point.

The workers demanded that new starters would also get the new pay rate and retain paid breaks. If breaks were unpaid then drivers would have to wait at the depot for their next job for up to two hours without pay - in effect a pay cut of £20 to £30. Management had agreed to limit the lower rate to two years, but workers realised that that would still create a two-tier workforce. However Stagecoach caved again.

On the 17th and last day of strike action in the first phase the managing director came out of his office to discuss with pickets, obviously hoping to probe weak points. The strikers made it absolutely clear that they would stand firm.

If the manager was hoping to see cracks in the strikers' determination then he was sorely disappointed. "We are offering you £10.50, what does it matter to you what new entrants get?" he asked

"It's not just about us as individuals - that's what you don't understand", said one of the drivers, John. "It's all about the collective. The new starters should have the same pay and conditions as us. We will not accept it. Simple as that.

"I am only here for another two and a half years but I'm fighting for their rights. They are the ones who will be here for ever and a day afterwards, and we should not be selling them down the river and we are not going to do it."

"If the new starters are paid £10.30 an hour, in a few years that will be minimum wage for having the responsibility of passengers' lives in their hands", another said.

"I don't care if we are out until the new year, we won't give in on new starters", Darren told him.

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In The Socialist 17 November 2021:


NHS

Cuts drag NHS to brink

NHS workers must take action now to save our NHS

Outsourced Barts health workers in strike ballot for a pay rise

Health and care staff shortages worsened by Tory vaccine sacking threat

Fund the fight for socialism


News

London MPs' second home swindle while workers and students struggle

Tory sleaze scandal continues, an ex-workers' MP responds

University bosses' pay piles up while workers are forced to strike


COP26

Youth fight for well-paid green jobs and socialist change

Sunak's climate finance agenda typifies capitalism's COP26 failure


China

China: Bureaucracy grapples with new crises


International

Ten years on - where has Podemos's radicalism gone?

Belarus refugees - caught between a rock and a hard place


Workplace news

S Wales Stagecoach bus drivers win 10.50 an hour

DVLA ballot turnout falls short of threshold

Striking Scunthorpe steel scaffs up the ante

Leeds cab drivers protest against taxi rank move

Fresh strikes on East Midlands Railway

An appeal to trade union members to stand as anti-cuts candidates

Clarks workers fight 'fire-and-rehire' pay cut

London couriers take action

St Mungo's report fails to address bullying and victimisation of workers


Campaigns

Resisting evictions in east London

Leeds solidarity protest says stop Sudan coup

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Why am I coming to Socialism 2021?

Birmingham People's Budget


Readers' opinion

Readers' opinion


 

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