24 Jun 2013

Sweden: transport strike spreads

Bus drivers and other public transport workers in Sweden are striking over low wages and employment conditions. It started off in three cities, including Stockholm. But today it has been expanded to others across the country. About 1,400 staff were involved in the first wave of action.
Unions are demanding that scheduling is reviewed to prevent the current situation of up to 13-hour days with few breaks. Further demands include a salary increase of 1,760 kronor (£170) per month over three years, and an employment guarantee when a new operator takes over bus services.

18 Jun 2013

Bangladesh: indefinite strike for pay parity

Bus services in ten districts of Khulna came to a halt yesterday morning, as workers in the Bangladesh Transport Workers’ Federation began an indefinite strike. They are demanding pay parity for drivers, supervisors and helpers on different routes.
Union leaders say the operators are paying Tk 1200 to a driver, Tk 500 to a supervisor and Tk 450 to a helper for a round trip on Dhaka-Chittagong route – but they are only paying Tk 900, Tk 350 and Tk 370 for the respective jobs on different routes.

17 Jun 2013

Guernsey: drivers may strike again this weekend

Bus drivers have warned CT Plus it has until end of business on Thursday to make improvements to their working conditions or else they will go on strike at the weekend. Around 20 drivers met last night to discuss whether the bus operator had made enough progress in dealing with their concerns over unfair and unsafe working conditions.
A driver who attended the meeting, but who wanted to remain anonymous, said there were mixed feelings. ‘Some drivers just want to get back to work for the money, but some of them wanted to go on strike again, but we don’t want to alienate the public and so have given some notice this time. ‘It is not about pay, it is about the terms and conditions and making it safer,’ he said.

12 Jun 2013

Guernsey: carrots and sticks after wildcat strike

A Guernsey bus driver, who acts as a Unite union representative for staff at CT Plus, has been suspended. It follows a day of unofficial strike action by drivers, and has sparked upset amongst colleagues as negotiations continue to resolve the dispute between drivers and the operator.

More strikes possible
The service was brought to a near stand-still on Monday by an unofficial wildcat strike, after drivers voted to stage a walkout the night before. Drivers are meeting again at the weekend to discuss the possibility of further strike action. It follows months of rowing over pay, conditions, shift-times and safety concerns.
CT Plus insist that the suspension has nothing to do with the strike action or the ongoing row. Unite regional officer Bob Lanning said the suspension would make conducting negotiations with the men more difficult than it currently was. Mr Lanning is due to fly into the island today (Weds) in an effort to speak to them.
The company has reportedly offered each driver £100 Co-op vouchers, to ease their complaints about a pay
freeze. Mr Lanning, who has asked for a consolidated pay rise for the men until October, said the deal on the table at the moment was not good enough.

Working to rule
The ongoing bus row has seen drivers make a point of how they will not exceed 25 mile per hour speed limit while running services this week, even if they are late.
As well as 'working to rule', which means sticking to contracted hours and no extra shifts or sickness cover, drivers say they will not break the speed limit despite the vehicles have had the mechanical speed limiter changed so it can allow for faster speeds. CT Plus have confirmed the limiter was changed so buses can reach speeds of 30mph, even though the legal limit for those vehicles is 25mph.

'An accident waiting to happen'

Bus drivers have denounced CT Plus promises after talks held in the wake of strikes and have said that, without significant changes, the service is an ‘accident waiting to happen’.
Speaking on condition of anonymity the drivers said the strike was not about money, but conditions. ‘I would not let my kids use the bus,’ said one, ‘because you have got drivers who have been working non-stop all day. They are too tired to continue – it [our timetable] is too much and too dangerous.’
The timetable has been designed in such a way, they said, that ‘if you are late for your first stop, you are late for your last’ and there is no time for them to take breaks.
‘You have drivers working endless hours, only have a few hours sleep and then return to work. There is not even any time for a toilet break.’ Tired drivers at the wheel meant, sooner or later, there will be a ‘big accident’, they said.

10 Jun 2013

Guernsey: CT Plus drivers walk out

Major travel disruption is expected today due to a bus driver strike. Thirty drivers met last night and voted unanimously to walk out. It follows significant unrest at CT Plus, which has faced staff shortages in recent weeks, leading to cancellations and delays. The drivers have also chosen to work to rule for the rest of the week.
Unite regional officer Bob Lanning, who represents the men, said they were unhappy with the way they were being treated by the company. “They have several grievances and the first is pay. They have been offered a pay freeze and apparently eight drivers are being shipped in from the mainland, put up in hotels and their flights paid for.”
Mr Lanning said this had aggravated the men, who had heard that the new drivers would be guaranteed 50 hours a week. He added that staff also had concerns about changes to their ‘duty’ cards, which affected their working hours and breaks. Guernsey’s lack of employment legislation means the men could be at risk of losing their jobs due to the walkout.