17 Sep 2010
London drivers demonstrate against cuts
More than 200 bus workers demonstrated outside London's City Hall on Wednesday over Mayor Boris Johnson's attacks on London's bus service. The Unite union called the protest, and members of the union from other workplaces joined it. These included cleaners, who led the protest with drums and whistles, and porters from Billingsgate fish market – who are also under attack.
Alan, a driver for First Bus Group at Leyton depot, told Socialist Worker, "I'm close to retirement, but I can't stand by and watch as jobs and services for the next generation are destroyed. Different bus companies compete for bus routes – the cheaper the tender the more likely they are to get it. That means when drivers are transferred our pay drops – £60 or £70 at least. That's a race to the bottom – we think wages should be levelled up not down."
A driver from London General's Stockwell depot said his management were looking to cut costs everywhere. "Our breaks are watched. We don't get any rest days. We need investment in the buses not cuts. This service is used by the workers of London, how can we survive without it?"
"Johnson has already cut our service," said Steve Hart, Unite regional organiser. "Now his Eton mate David Cameron is going to come for millions more."
Service users group Campaign for Better Transport brought solidarity greetings to the protest and Dot Gibson from the National Pensioners Convention spoke about the importance of free public transport for the elderly.