Renationalise the buses – demand drivers on eve of strike

Unite bus workers at Shepherd’s Bush – on strike next Monday

LONDON bus drivers are preparing for strike action starting next Monday.

Unite has called a series of strikes against massive attacks on pay and conditions by the bus privateers, with some garages striking for three days next week and others the following week.

Unite members at Hounslow Bus Garage in West London, who start a three-day strike next Monday, told News Line yesterday morning that all the struggles against the different bus privateers have to be brought together in order to win the fight.

Driver and Unite member Craig Clack said: ‘London Transport should be renationalised. Privatisation has been a disaster. Our company is attacking our pay and conditions, just like all the other companies.

‘We may get a pay rise one year but then it’s taken away the next through changes to duty periods, rest days or something like that.

‘This remote signing on, which all the bus companies are now bringing in, is terrible. I do the 111 and they expect me to make my way to Kingston, in my own time, to start work, and then to finish in Kingston, again in my own time. That puts an extra two or three hours onto my working day, unpaid!

‘And it’s about to be implemented. All the equipment for remote signing on has already been installed on the buses. The union is allowing these underhand things to slip through without consultation with the drivers.

‘This struggle is really important. We have to win it. But in order to win it we need to unite all the struggles together, it’s no good us being out one week and then the drivers for the other companies coming out the next. Unite the fight before it’s too late.’

Driver and Unite member Kuna Kuga agreed, saying: ‘We are striking next week to defend our conditions – all the struggles should be combined.’

Driver and Unite member Ray Southall said: ‘Our particular company wants to take £1,700 off each driver, which is not on.

‘London Transport should be renationalised, 100%. I’ve been in this job 45 years and I’ve seen masses of changes.

‘They want to sell off our garages as well. They see them as being worth millions.

‘Some garages are out next week and some aren’t. That’s no way to run a strike. They should all be out together. That’s what we’ll have to do to win.’