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The Socialist 8 March 2017 |
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Oxford bus drivers' strike: Huge anger at bosses' attacks
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey addressing striking bus drivers in Oxford, 2.3.17, photo by Nick Chaffey (Click to enlarge)
Over 400 bus drivers at the Oxford Bus Company, owned by Go Ahead, have started strike action in a dispute over pay and attacks on terms and conditions. This is the first Oxford bus strike in 40 years and came to a head when management refused to pay agreed rates for the legally recognised bank holidays over Xmas - drivers lost £100 a day due to unpaid enhancements over that period. This came on top of management's refusal to enter annual pay negotiations which should have started in November.
The mood on the picket line and at the Unite union protest with over 200 drivers attending, was angry and determined. Especially since management have further escalated the dispute by derecognising the union and suspending two union members for posting their views on social media.
The Oxford Motor Services company posted profits for 2015 of over £4 million, with Go Ahead taking £99 million in profits for 2016. Workers see their long working hours and anti-social hours under threat of increasing, only to make even greater profits for management.
With a skyrocketing cost of living in Oxford, it is no wonder that these attacks have been met with such anger.
Drivers have been buoyed by today's turnout and the overwhelming support from the passing public tooting their horns. Further strike action has been organised beginning at midnight on Sunday 5th March for 24 hours, with Len McCluskey, the bus drivers' nominee in the Unite general secretary election, due to visit.
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This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 2 March 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.