19 Dec 2011

Unite seek £500 payment for Olympics

Unite has written to bus operators in the capital calling for talks over an Olympic payment for up to 28,000 workers. An award of £500 would be in line with what other London transport staff will be getting for working during the Games, said the union, adding that an extra 800,000 passengers are expected to travel on buses during the Olympics, generating "significant" extra revenue.
Press Association

15 Dec 2011

Stagecoach Yorkshire: four more strike days

Members of the Unite trade union have still not reached an agreement over pay with bosses at Stagecoach depots covering Barnsley, Dearne Valley and Rotherham. The latest walkouts will be on Friday and Saturday this week, and January 4 and 16. But Stagecoach said it was drafting in more than 100 supervisors and managers to keep ‘the majority of daytime services running’.

13 Dec 2011

Veolia to dump transport as it seeks to cut debt

Veolia Environnement, pressured by a slumping share price and two straight profit warnings, aims to sell its transport business as part of a plan to shed 5 billion euros ($6.73 billion) of assets in the next two years.
Alongside the french multinational's transport activities, which made revenues of 5.8 billion euros in 2010, Veolia also seeks to sell its UK regulated water activities and its U.S. solid waste business.
Veolia Transport, with 80,756 employees, runs buses, trains and ferries across 27 countries and includes Veolia Transdev, a joint venture created in March with state bank Caisse des Depots (CDC).
The asset sales would help reduce Veolia's debt to below 12 billion euros by the end of 2013 from 15 billion at the end of September.

Stagecoach fined over worker's injury at garage

Barnsley, Yorkshire
Stagecoach has been fined after a teenage apprentice was injured by a bus while he was carrying out repairs. Barnsley Magistrates' Court heard that Ben Burgin became trapped under the 14 tonne bus when its air suspension failed. He needed surgery to his nose and eye socket following the incident, which took place at Stagecoach Yorkshire's Barnsley garage in September 2009. Workers at the same garage are currently striking against low pay.
Stagecoach Yorkshire pleaded guilty to two health and safety offences. The firm was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £8,473 in costs. The court heard Mr Burgin, who was aged 17 when the accident happened, was working alongside an experienced fitter to correct a braking fault on a bus fitted with an air suspension system. Rather than moving the bus over an inspection pit, they attempted to fix the fault with the bus still on the garage floor.
Mr Burgin slid beneath the bus near the front passenger wheel and was making adjustments when the air suspension failed suddenly and the bus dropped on him, badly injuring his face. He was freed when another worker rushed to help and they were able to raise the bus sufficiently to get him out.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which brought the prosecution against the operator's owners, Yorkshire Traction Company Ltd of Stockport, Cheshire.

9 Dec 2011

Weymouth drivers threaten strike during Olympics

Weymouth, Dorset
Drivers at First Bus are threatening to ‘cause chaos’ by striking during the Olympics. First Weymouth drivers claim they are the worst paid drivers in the region and have rejected a two-year pay deal.
Threats of strike action come after First Bus Group was announced as an official Games transport provider. Final talks about pay will be held between unions and management on December 14.
One Weymouth driver, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “We are looking at industrial action and we’re thinking about striking during the Olympics if we don’t achieve this pay deal... There are about 100 drivers who are prepared to walk out. We’re thinking about half day strikes – it will cause chaos."

Drivers are also said to be upset because current sickness benefit will be replaced with a sliding scale attendance bonus scheme.
Drivers have rejected a two-year pay deal that will increase their basic pay from £7.70 an hour to £8 in the first year and to £8.20 in the second year. First bus management have offered for the established overtime rate to go up from £8.88 an hour to £9.18 an hour in the first year and £9.28 an hour in the second year.

7 Dec 2011

We aren't dogs. We can't be urinating on the street

Brent Cross, North London
Bus drivers at Metroline are urinating in bushes after their toilet was vandalised. Transport provider TfL closed the toilet, outside Brent Cross Shopping Centre in Hendon, on Monday, due to ‘misuse’ of the facility. Graffiti was found on the walls and flooding in the only male toilet. Driver Marcia Mansfield said she has to urinate in the nearby bush when the shopping centre is closed as she has nowhere else to go. She said: “Why do the good have to suffer for the bad?” She said the toilet is closed every few weeks, leaving the drivers in a desperate position.

Another driver, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We are not dogs - we can’t be urinating on the street. Five hours without a toilet, it is not right.” He says if drivers are caught urinating outside, they can be fined £80.
Driver Mr D. Kamal says TfL lock both toilets despite the problems only ever being in the male cubicle. “The ladies are suffering for nothing,” he said. “Some bus drivers have to hold on up until 10 o’clock which is a health hazard.”
He says there are not enough facilities for the amount of drivers covering the route and they are a poor standard so they leak all the time. Currently, there is one toilet for male bus drivers and one for female drivers. The toilets are due to re-open by Friday next week.

Passengers back Barnsley strike

Stagecoach bus drivers in Barnsley and Rawmarsh struck again on Friday and Saturday of last week in protest at their low wages. The drivers, members of the Unite union, are on £8.57 an hour for a 38-hour week.
Stagecoach is imposing a below-inflation 2 percent increase with no back pay, keeping them the lowest paid bus drivers in South Yorkshire. Picket lines were large and lively. Scab drivers were barracked, while drivers at other bus companies were cheered when they stopped to show support. A number of the scab drivers stuck two fingers up at the pickets. When some pickets swore back, the police imposed £80 spot fines on two of them.

Strikers were delighted when lorries refused to cross picket lines, particularly when a Michelin Tyres driver turned back. Barnsley College UCU union members took a £50 donation to the picket line on Friday.
Barnsley town centre was quiet on Saturday. Very few people travelled on the scab buses. Many passengers had told the drivers on Thursday that they would respect the strike. A local cafe offered to supply cut price “striker specials” on the strike days.
Strikers held a mass meeting on Sunday and voted to strike for one day a week until Christmas. This is a brave decision. The drivers need our support.
Email messages of support to Barnsley Unite branch secretary Tony Rushforth: 
a-rushforth@sky.com. Send cheques payable to 'Barnsley Unite' to Tony at 45 Tune Street, Barnsley, S73 8PX

6 Dec 2011

Tunisian busworkers strike over security

Bus drivers and conductors operating Line 23 from the Tunis Transport Company (TRANSTU) continued their strike yesterday, to demand “mobile security guards” to protect them against repeated attacks. About 50 workers operate the 25 buses on the route.
Workers from other regions have also agreed to join the strike – namely those operating the lines serving Manouba’s suburbs and Lines 90, 91, 92, and 61. 
During the last two weeks various people have tried to prevent Line 23 from operating in protest at its infrequency and the repeated delays.

1 Dec 2011

Cardiff Bus completely shut down by N30 strike

Yesterday morning, Cardiff Bus announced no services were expected to run as drivers took part in the strikes. Managing Director of Cardiff Bus, David Brown, said: "It is with regret that we confirm that bus services on Wednesday will be withdrawn as a result of strike action...
We had hoped to have sufficient staff numbers to be able to run a limited service but, unfortunately, this is not possible".

Court stops Warrington drivers joining N30 strike

Warrington, Cheshire
Bosses at Network Warrington, the town's bus company, won a last minute injunction to stop its staff from joining yesterday's big strike. They took the Unite union to the High Court on Monday after ‘inconsistencies’ in the ballot papers sent out.