East London Bus Group (ELBG) wants to launch an attack on drivers – but workers are determined to resist.
The mood was militant as 400 drivers packed into East Ham town hall for a meeting with their Unite union reps last week. They heard about ELBG’s plan to save £17 million over six months by pay cuts and attacks on terms and conditions.
Already supervisors face pay cuts of £4,000 a year, redundancies and attacks on holiday entitlement, sick pay and increases to their working hours. Unite’s London regional organiser Peter Kavanagh, told the meeting that the union backed strike action saying, “We are a fighting back union.”
A driver from Plumstead pointed out that ELBG was owned by an Australian bank. He said, “When the banks are broke they go to the taxpayer to bail them out, but they are not getting another penny out of me.” The meeting voted overwhelmingly for an immediate ballot for hard hitting strike action if ELBG propose pay cuts or attacks on terms and conditions.
ELBG’s assault is an issue for every bus driver. If they get away with it, it will set a precedent for companies across the city. Every activist needs to be spreading the message of resistance.