16 Aug 2012

Portugal: transport workers strike against savage attacks on working conditions

Public transport in Portugal was disrupted yesterday. Workers struck in protest at government plans to alter working conditions to make the recession-struck country "more competitive". The 24-hour strike mostly affected rail and bus services in Lisbon and the northern city of Oporto.
On Tuesday, striking dockworkers crippled Portugal's main harbours to protest the reforms which include the easing of limits on working hours, new rules to make hiring and firing easier and the scrapping of certain holidays. The measures, pushed through by the government, have been fiercely opposed by unions and thousands have taken to the streets in protest.

13 Aug 2012

Abellio workers in Surrey strike over pay

By Rob Owen
A strike by bus workers in the Unite union shut down the Abellio garage in Byfleet, Surrey, this morning. The workers walked out over plans by the company to freeze their pay. Last minute negotiations at Acas failed to reach a resolution. Abellio refused to make the workers an offer above 1.5 percent. The union is holding on for a 4 percent pay rise. But for many of the drivers on the picket line the issues around the strike run deeper. 
Abellio claims the byfleet depot is losing money, despite the company making millions in profit last year. Extra layers of management have been added to “oversee” the garage. They are proposing cuts that could see drivers losing up to £80 a week. 

Test case
There are also fears that the company is using its Surrey operation as a test case. If its pay freeze succeeds here it could roll it out to its other London garages. One Unite rep described what was going on as “legalised robbery”.
When it was announced that management had received a 7 percent pay rise one worker shouted out “We should demand 7 percent too!” to nods from the crowd. Over 30 workers joined the 6am picket line in a near-solid strike. Some 120 workers are based at the garage.
Send messages of support to daveweeks@unitetheunion.org


6 Aug 2012

National Express pays massive bonus – to the boss

National Express, one of the 'big five' British bus operators,  is boosting the pay of its CEO Dean Finch, after deciding it initially hired him “on the cheap”. He is being awarded 261,407 free shares and his maximum annual bonus is increasing from 125 percent to 150 percent of his £550,000 basic salary. The timing raised eyebrows after last week’s 14 percent fall in half-year profits to £82m pre-tax.