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Bluestar bus drivers strike over pay
Bus drivers at Bluestar in Southampton were out in force at Totton and Eastleigh bus depots on 18 June, angry at their pay and working conditions.
The drivers, members of the RMT transport union, are employed on 40-hour contracts and are expected to drive for 59 hours with no overtime rates for anti-social hours. Strikers know that the 3% increase offer is not a lot on a wage that's not a lot - just £11.13 an hour - for the work they do looking after the travelling public.
Not that Bluestar cares about its passengers either. Drivers explained to us how many passengers support the strike because buses are so frequently cancelled. This is because Bluestar doesn't employ enough drivers.
In negotiations Bluestar management says there is only a limited budget for pay, but not when it comes to trying to break this strike, with strikebreaking drivers paid £250 a day and put up in hotels overnight.
Strikers were buoyant after the solid support for the strike action, backing from their passengers and lots of support from City Bus and Xela drivers who drove past the protest outside Bluestar offices.
If no agreement is reached then an overtime ban will begin on 1 July which will show management the reality of their understaffed service.
Southampton Socialist Party
27 May Reckless, lying cheats
Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777
Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206
Regional Socialist Party organisers:
Eastern: 079 8202 1969
East Mids: 077 3797 8057
London: 07748 534 891
North East: 078 4114 4890
North West 079 5437 6096
South West: 077 5979 6478
Southern: 078 3368 1910
Wales: 079 3539 1947
West Mids: 024 7655 5620
Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041