A significant all out strike is underway by 800 bus drivers employed by First Bus,a major multinational, the strike has been solid as it goes into its second week. However, the Left such as it is has not created any support group, there have been no public meetings for what is a desperately important and much needed service. Now the local union activist are asking for support. They will be having a number of mass pickets, but are also inviting families and supporters to a number of imaginative events to keep the focus on the dispute(and the strike-breaking depots)such as a anon-alcoholic disco outside the Olive grove depot in Sheffiled.
BTW, Indymedia, this is a major story and should be on the front page, or is only war, racism and the environment, the only fit subjects to be highlighted on a uk site.I know some IUK readers are quite young and often do not sees the significance of strikes, but a guiding and factual principle is if they lose, ultimately we all lose.
Latest Strike Bulletin
Friday 23rd July 2004 Strike Bulletin, First South Yorkshire Buses
Major developments at the end of Day 4 of our All-Out Strike
Dear Friends, Bothers & Sisters, fellow trade unionists and supporters
We need your support in any way you can!
As from today the Company rejected our final bid to end this dispute
and talks have now broken down. From Monday 26th July the Company will
breach a written agreement which we made with them on the outset of our strike
not to use scab labour to run services, in return for our co-operation, which
we have freely given, to allow a specified number of contract services to
run, on a no fares basis, picking up passengers. The agreed contract buses
totalled 10 - 12 vehicles out of the Sheffield depot and fewer from the
other 4 depots in Rotherham, Doncaster and Halfway. From Monday they
intend to run a half hour service on a large number of key routes in
Sheffield,running out of the Sheffield Olive Grove depot, using managers drafted
in from all First Bus subsidiaries in UK. They have freely told us of this
at the end of today's meeting but they say the scab drivers will not take
They are trying to intimidate our workforce who will obviously see this
as inflammatory. But this £160M + profit-making multinational will not
break the resolve of our drivers. Indeed this will only make our members more
determined than ever to see this through to the bitter end! I have just
returned from the picket line at my depot in Sheffield and addressed
some 50 drivers, not one of whom were worried at all by this develpment. We
have agreed to organise a disciplined and legal picket on Monday morning and
will invite the police to attend to ensure peace. We will however have a
massive presence of our members assembled to show peaceful resistance and we
will organise "events" during the week to attract public displays of
solidarity.The first of these is tomorrow Saturday 24th July when all supporters
of our dispute are invited to a non-alcholic disco outside Olive Grove Garage
at lunchtime starting at 12 noon. Bring the family and have a good time!
Just for the record the "bottom line" we are holding out for ( and
which the Company rejected today) was:
30p on all rates (and there are three of them for doing the same job!)
backdated to April 1st
Reduce maximum duties to 8hr 30 min ( not including 60 min unpaid meal
relief) and 4hrs 30 max duty spell
Reduce maximum scheduled week to 40 hrs
Allow starter rate drivers (currently on £5.85 per hour) to go up to
next grade after 3 years instead of the current 3 years and 6 months.
One year deal - no strings!
If you think this is an unreasonable, militant, revolutionary, greedy
position to take, please let us know!
Clearly we are in for the long haul. Messages of support are vital but
we are now urgently appealing for financial assistance. Fortunately our
drivers are paid 10 days in arrears so it's the pay packet on Tuesday 10 th
August which will be hit first. We need to ensure that our more vulnerable
drivers can turn to a solidarity fund to help them last this through. Clearly
most of these will be on the appallingly low starter rate.
Can you help? Can your branch make a speedy donation to help us keep
this strike solid? Please send donations to First South Yorkshire Strike
Fund and make cheques payable to TGWU. the address is
Regional Industrial Organiser
TGWU Regional Office
55, Call Lane
Leeds LS 1
This strike affects everyone in First Group. It affects everyone in the
UK bus industry. It affects every trade unionist and everyone who believes
in helping workers to stand up against highly profitable multinationals
who abuse their employees.
We thank you for the solidarity which we know we can recieve.
yours in comradeship
TGWU 8/9-10 Branch
Sheffield Olive Grove depot
First South Yorkshire Buses