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First bus drivers give bosses a 'fright'
South Yorkshire First bus drivers, members of Unite, held a one day strike back in July against the company's national pay-freeze. Further action was suspended on union legal advice after a court ruling.
However, even more drivers voted for strike action in the re-ballot, in fact in three ballots for industrial action. 82% voted to strike over pay and 91% of drivers at the Sheffield Olive Grove garage voted to strike against bullying management. Strike dates were set which forced management into new talks and into making supposedly 'new offers' (which still involve a pay freeze this year despite £130 million profit last year).
Despite a negotiating committee recommendation to accept the pay offer, it was rejected in a workplace ballot by 514-379. Olive Grove drivers supported their committee's recommendation to reject the offer on disciplinary issues by 437-39.
So new South Yorkshire strike dates have been set over pay for 23 and 26 October, plus in Sheffield on 25 and 31 October. This has incensed First bosses who sponsor the city's Fright Night in the run-up to Halloween, both of which will be hit by strikes.
Strike action is being co-ordinated with First drivers in Bury, Bolton and Wigan. With Essex drivers voting 95% for action, and ballots in London and West Yorkshire at an advanced stage, around 8,000 First workers could soon be taking simultaneous strike action against the company pay-freeze.
In The Socialist 21 October 2009:
War and occupation
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reviews
Marxist analysis: history