LONDON FACES STANDSTILL! – as thousands of Metroline busworkers vote to strike

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RATP drivers on the picket line at Shepherd’s Bush garage – the RATP strikers will soon be joined by Metroline workers

LONDON is set to be brought to a standstill after thousands of bus workers employed by the privateer Metroline have voted overwhelmingly for strike action.

The Unite members are determined to defeat the imposition of remote sign-on, under which they will be required to start and finish their shifts at a remote bus stop instead of at their bus garage.

They will join thousands of workers employed by the French government-owned privateer RATP, in London, who have taken 10 days of strike action so far and are coming out on strike again this Thursday, as well as the 400 Go North West Manchester bus workers who remain on indefinite strike.

An email to members employed by Metroline was sent from the Unite North London District Office last Friday, reporting:

‘METROLINE TRAVEL & METROLINE WEST Unite Members Have Voted Yes for Action!! Result is an overwhelming mandate for strike action.’

The email continued: ‘Brothers and Sisters,

‘I am very, very pleased to announce that Unite members have given an overwhelming mandate for strike action in the ballot.

‘The ballot result is that 96.3% of WEST and 97.2% of Travel members have voted YES for strike action.

‘This gives a very clear answer to the company propaganda – our members to not want remote sign on and we will fight to stop it.

‘You will all by now be aware of the announcement by TfL of an independent report being commissioned to review Remote Sign-On and the moratorium.

‘While this is welcome, it does not go far enough. Our position is that we want it removed altogether.

‘Our campaign must move forward to win a complete victory.

‘This means not waiting for the review to be completed if this is to take far too long – otherwise the employer will simply run down the clock so that the mandate from our ballot expires.

‘It is for this reason that we will now urgently begin preparations for naming strike dates.

‘Our region has a proud record across different service sectors of striking and winning – we can now add to that proud history.

‘Thank you to all the members who participated and voted yes and to the Unite representatives for all your hard work so far.

‘It is time to put remote sign on into the dustbin of history – and firmly shut the lid!!!

‘Regards,

Mary Summers,

Unite the union regional officer.’

Unite member and Metroline driver at Greenford bus garage, Ashok Patel told News Line: ‘We are very pleased with the result. Remote sign-on is bad for the workers and the passengers. Drivers will lose their canteens and their rights, with all socialising with colleagues finished.

‘We must all strike together to make the strongest impact – all the drivers in all the companies coming out together to defeat these the private companies. They should all be thrown out and the whole bus network should be renationalised.’