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South Yorkshire bus drivers plan more strikes
Drivers working for South Yorkshire's largest bus company, First, are planning more strikes following a legal challenge leading to the postponement of one strike. Drivers overwhelmingly voted for strike action in June following a pay freeze imposed by a company that increased its dividend to shareholders by 10% last year and its profits to £132 million.
First have doubled fares in Sheffield since 2005 leading to great anger amongst passengers and the formation of our We Want Our Buses Back (WWoBB ) campaign.
A drivers' shop steward addressed a public meeting of WWoBB last week and exposed the First bosses' propaganda, including that drivers earn £30,000 a year and demand full retirement rights at 50!
The Socialist Party has been holding campaigning stalls in support of the drivers and also arguing for a return to regulated services. Many people in Sheffield remember the 'fares fair' days of the 1980s.
Unions representing bus drivers are trying to bring together a national strike later this year.
The recent Transport Act has made it possible for local authorities to take control of fares and routes again and Sheffield city council has announced plans to take advantage of this change. We will keep up the pressure to make sure this happens.
Sheffield Socialist Party continues to fight for a better deal for drivers and passengers which can only come when companies such as First, Stagecoach and National Express stop running wages and services into the ground and there is a return to public ownership and control.
Calvin Payne, Sheffield Socialist Party
In The Socialist 12 August 2009:
International socialist news
Marxist analysis: history
Socialist Party youth and students
International socialist news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis
Labour history comment