Socialist Worker has uncovered a serious attack on pay and conditions of bus drivers working for the capital’s third-largest operator, East London Bus Group. Bosses are demanding a 15 percent wage cut, or agreement that 250 workers will be made compulsory redundant with only statutory redundancy pay.
Stagecoach sold the East London Bus Group to Australian bank Macquarie for £264 million in 2006. Last October, it re-bought the company for a mere £59.9 million after it went into administration. Despite the massive profit, Stagecoach want to squeeze workers. They say that they expect to keep a 15 percent profit margin at all times.
Many drivers say that they had expected conditions to improve when Stagecoach took over again—pay has been frozen for the past few years.
Stagecoach is said to be proposing to achieve its 15 percent pay cut through increasing drivers’ hours, removing enhancements and roster earnings, and imposing a fixed salary. For many workers the cut will mean losing around £100 a week.
It is vital that the drivers’ Unite union communicates the extent of the attack to the workforce. Mass members meetings could give union reps the confidence to stand up to this assault. The union should move to ballot members for strikes if management don’t back down.