Escalate the action – bus workers call for National Strike now!

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Confident bus strikers on the picket line at Fulwell garage yesterday morning

‘ESCALATE the action – national strike now!’ bus workers told News Line yesterday on the first day of another two days of strike action by drivers employed by bus privateer RATP across eight London garages, continuing today.

Drivers employed by the French government-owned RATP came out on three days of strike action last week and their union, Unite, has also named three Wednesdays as strike days later this month.

At Shepherd’s Bush Bus Garage, Unite rep Abdul Hanafi said: ‘The amount they are trying to take from us is £2,500. We told them don’t touch it, we want to improve our terms and conditions, not worsen them. It’s not just RATP. All the private companies are thinking the same way.

They think we should be grateful for having a job and if we don’t like what they do we can get lost. Well they’ve got another think coming. We are fighting to win and we want a national strike.’

Driver and Unite member Frank Farrell said: ‘If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. We are standing up for our pay and our rights. Unite should call a national strike.’

Driver and Unite member Ali Arif said: ‘We have to go forward to national strike action. What’s happening with this company is happening all over the country.’

At Hounslow bus garage, driver and Unite member Clive Collacott said: ‘We send greetings to all our colleagues who are on indefinite strike in Manchester. We are all in the same boat and we want national strike action now.’

Driver and Unite member Ramesh Sood said: ‘We’re angry. They are taking the money from our pockets. We’re losing roughly £2,500 a year. We want the union to escalate the action, national action is needed.’

Driver and Unite member Dhan Tamang said: ‘We have not had a decent pay rise for two years now. We can’t afford to pay our bills and mortgages and look after our families. Everything is going up.’

Driver and Unite member Clive Slattery, who works out of Fulwell, said: ‘We’re not going to give in. Other companies are coming out. Metroline are voting for action against attacks on their conditions.’

Hounslow Heath garage Unite Rep David Cox, told News Line: ‘The changes they want to bring in amount to a massive pay cut. Meanwhile, the directors of RATP have given themselves a 100% pay rise over the past four years. The company has no right to treat its workers like this.’

At Fulwell Bus Garage in Twickenham, Unite Rep Alan Duncan told News Line: ‘It’s been brilliant, 420 work here and we’re strong, the strike is completely solid. I can see this escalating across London in the coming months.’

Driver and Unite member Alex Ocampo said: ‘We all want national strike action. This is the same struggle for all of us, whichever company we work for.’

Frances Giraldo said: ‘This is all a consequence of these private companies taking over.’

Driver and Unite member Angel Delizhov said: ‘We work for a company that has refused to give us a pay rise for two years and now they actually want to decrease our pay by making us work 10 hours with 50 minutes unpaid break, which is not safe for us or our passengers.’

Driver and Unite member Ashish Joshi said: ‘They are trying to cut our pay when everything is going up – electricity up, council tax up, my rent goes up £100 next month. We’ve got to win.’