A Damning Indictment Of The Bus Industry

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Mass picket by bus workers during strike action at Metroline bus company in west London last November
Mass picket by bus workers during strike action at Metroline bus company in west London last November

A SURVEY published yesterday shows that bus workers believe that the privatised bus companies are far more interested in making big profits than providing a service for passengers.

The survey, commissioned by transport union RMT and to be launched at the RMT’s National Bus Workers Conference in Lincoln, also shows an industry riven by long hours and low pay, with high staff turnover, job insecurity and an increasing age profile.

Sixty-nine per cent of bus workers felt that the company they worked for was more interested in making profits than providing a service to passengers.

Only 14 per cent felt their company was more interested in passengers than profits.

Only 13 per cent of bus workers felt that the company they worked for adequately rewarded staff, while two thirds said the main reason workers left the industry was because of poor pay and conditions. 

Younger bus workers are becoming a rarity, with 89 per cent of bus workers over the age of 34 and 70 per cent over the age of 44.

Just over a third of bus workers have been employed in the industry for five years or less and only a quarter of bus workers felt secure in their job. 

 

Over 40 per cent of bus workers work over 46 hours a week and almost half earn less than £300 a week before tax.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: ‘This is a damning indictment on the bus industry.

‘The Bus companies own workforce believes their bosses are more interested in lining the pockets of their shareholders than providing a service to passengers. 

‘Despite making mega profits on the back of government subsidy the private operators have refused to invest in their staff.

‘Poor pay, long hours and job insecurity have created an industry with a high staff turnover, which is unattractive to a new generation of workers.

‘The interests of passengers will be best served by bringing the bus industry back into public ownership but government proposals to make it easier for local authorities to regulate buses are a step forward.

‘If passengers are to benefit from improved bus services then ministers also need to take concrete steps to ensure high quality, stable and secure employment in the bus industry.’ 

The survey of 1,000 bus workers was conducted by Electoral Reform Market Research between 21 March and 12 April 2007.