Friday, 6 January 2012

South Yorkshire Bus Dispute

Martin Mayer, Andy Yeardley and Dave Smith to support the Stagecoach picket line on Wednesday morning. The strike is now in its 7th day on a series of rolling one day strikes. Out of over 250 drivers at the Barnsley depot only about 11 drivers are scabbing on the dispute.

But Stagecoach is bussing in supervisors and managers from all around the country who are prepared to take the “boss’s shilling”. The result is the depot is able to get out about 60% of the services.

But at what cost? The pickets told me they had seen a slip showing up to £155 bonuses per day for strike breakers on top of their wage. Hotel and travel is also paid. So the strikers are not disheartened. Stagecoach a) can’t keep this up as its more expensive than paying the drivers and b) they clearly can afford to pay the increase they are seeking!
There is another depot at Rawmarsh, Rotherham also in dispute. This is a smaller depot and I have no feedback from there as yet except that the strike there is solid.

Around 50 drivers were on the picket line or standing across the road – and it was a cold windy day as well. They told me that when they are back at work the Company is imposing an overtime ban on the strikers, whilst letting the scabs have as much overtime as they like. They are even getting a few drivers up from Sheffield Stagecoach Ecclesfield depot to work their day off – we have not been able to get that branch to do anything about it.

State of play is that the Company have imposed 18p pay rise in November taking their top rate to £8.74 p per hour or the year commencing April 2011. The Company are only prepared to talk “productivity” i.e. losing conditions which the branch is united in opposing. The drivers are demanding £9.50p per hour with no strings. The next strike is 16thJanuary.

They desperately need support. The branch fund is depleted because they are paying strike pay to new members who have less than 13 weeks membership and whom Region has not paid.

Please send messages of support go and stand on the picket line on the next day of strike action and above all please send cheques for their hardship fund.

We need to give these drivers our maximum support. Don’t let Stagecoach beat UNITE!!

Messages of support should be sent to Barnsley Unite Branch Secretary Tony Rushforth, Cheques should be made payable to Barnsley Unite and sent to Tony at 45 Tune Street, Wombwell, Barnsley S73 8PX