14 Apr 2014

Vermont: strike wins key demands

On 3 April, bus drivers for the Chittenden County Transportation Authority in Vermont, USA, ended a three-and-a-half week strike with a 53-6 vote to ratify a new contract.
The agreement holds the line and more on the most important demands of the drivers, members of Teamsters Local 597. It also serves as a powerful demonstration that strikes can win when union members are united and strong – and when they have the support of community members who connect the strikers' issues to their own concerns.
The contract contains a 2 percent raise per year over the three-year contract. But drivers were most intent on pushing back management demands that would have created unsafe conditions on the job, shifted in the direction of a part-time labor force and handed over new tools to spy on and harass the drivers. On these questions, the drivers believe they won.

10 Apr 2014

Cambodia: strike wins concessions and inspires workers to form a union

All but two of 40 striking workers at Phnom Penh Sorya Transportation bus service are back on the job, workers and a company representative said on Monday.
Workers began striking last Thursday with a litany of demands, including a $60 monthly wage increase and an end to a company policy requiring employees to shoulder a fine of about $750 if caught transporting people or goods without a ticket.
During a three-hour negotiation session on Thursday, company manager Chan Sophanna agreed to end the $750 fine policy, leading all but two drivers to return to work on Saturday, said Sambath Vorn, one of the two remaining drivers on strike.
“Everyone went back to work on Saturday after the company promised to review our base salary every year,” said Vorn, adding that he and one other driver had yet to return because they were preparing documents to form a bus union.

31 Mar 2014

Johannesburg: indefinite strike over shifts

Drivers at Rea Vaya buses have started an indefinite strike this morning in a dispute over the shift system. The workers, who are members of the SAMWU union, want preference for shifts to be based on seniority. This is the fourth strike at the operator since it was created in August 2009.

18 Mar 2014

Stagecoach unhappy about democracy

Bus operator Stagecoach has fired a fresh broadside in its battle against North East local authorities – by demanding an official role in deciding transport policy for the region.
The bus company, which runs services across the region, has been locked in a bitter battle with the five Tyne and Wear councils, who want to seize control of bus services and set fares, routes and timetables.
Stagecoach says it will take legal action against the authorities if the plans go ahead, and has warned fares will rise.
Now the bus operator has also launched a second line of attack by asking MPs to give local transport businesses a seat on the board of the regional authorities making decisions.
Stagecoach has told a House of Commons inquiry that it should have representation on Local Transport Bodies in areas where it runs buses.

Buenos Aires: driver's murder prompts strike

Drivers walked out on Friday in Buenos Aires City and the surrounding province during a sudden strike called by most metropolitan bus lines. The protest was launched by the UTA union following the killing of a bus-driver, Leonardo Paz (22), in a robbery attempt while he was working the night shift. Nearly 200 bus lines were paralysed.
UTA spokeperson Roberto Fern├índez criticised the governor of the province, Daniel Scioli, for a lack of response to numerous demands voiced by the union for better security measures for bus drivers, especially during the night shift. “Provincial leaders are only dedicated to running for the presidency and ignore all issues concerning security conditions for workers”.

2 Mar 2014

Egypt: five-day transport strike wins key demands

Egypt’s public transport workers have resumed work as the last four garages out of 24 in Greater Cairo ended their strike on Friday, reports the state-owned Al-Ahram Arabic news website.
The workers at the Public Transport Authority (PTA) announced on Thursday they were ending the strike after the government promised to meet their financial demands.
According to Al-Ahram, the head of the PTA, along with Cairo’s governor, assured workers they would now be guaranteed the same rights as others in the public sector, as PTA would now fall either under the Cairo governorate or the Ministry of Transportation. Workers will also be paid a permanent monthly bonus worth LE200 ($28.7).
They struck for five days, demanding inclusion in the state's LE1200 ($172) minimum wage scheme and improvals to PTA's run-down fleet of 4,700 buses.

7 Feb 2014

First Hampshire & Dorset will strike again on Monday

Drivers employed by First Hampshire and Dorset have rejected the company's latest pay offer and will go on strike for 24 hours on Monday 10 February, from 4.30am. Services in the Bridport, Portland and Weymouth area will be affected.
Around 60 drivers, who are members of Unite, voted to reject the offer as there were too many strings attached, which would have meant a reduction to their terms and conditions.Unite regional officer Bob Lanning said, "The crux of this dispute is that our members are lagging behind the pay of their counterparts working for other regional bus operators, at a time when household bills are going through the roof."

4 Feb 2014

Hertfordshire: strike threats win improved offer

Bus drivers threatening to strike in and around Welwyn Hatfield have accepted a new pay offer from the University of Hertfordshire. Before Christmas, drivers working for the Uno bus company, which reports to the university board, voted to reject two consecutive pay offers.
With the dispute aggravated by complaints about outdated and over-stretched vehicles, members of Unite were prepared to strike, but they accepted a fresh offer last week.
Regional Unite officer Steve Linger said: “The bus drivers, who number just under 200, have voted overwhelmingly by a margin of 78 per cent to accept the company’s latest offer. There will be no further industrial action... The deal is complicated, but it basically takes the drivers to £12 an hour, with some additional improvements, including a match-funded pension arrangement.”