Bus drivers resist fire and rehire

Submitted by martin on 13 April, 2021 - 4:40 Author: Ollie Moore
Bus strikers in Manchester

Bus drivers working for Go North West in Manchester are continuing their indefinite strike against “fire and rehire”, which has been ongoing since mid-February.

The company wants to change workers terms and conditions, including increasing hours and reducing sick pay entitlement, and plans to dismiss the workforce en masse before re-engaging them on the inferior terms. The strike has now been supported by Manchester's Labour council. The council passed a motion supporting the workers, and exploring cutting council ties with companies who use “fire and rehire” tactics. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, has also supported the strike. Following a visit to the picket line, Burnham said: “I believe the tactics of fire and rehire of a workforce have no place whatsoever in this city-region.”

Local unions have been supporting the bus drivers' picket lines, with the Fire Brigades Union bringing a fire truck to the picket on Friday 9 April.

In London, bus drivers at London United, a subsidiary of the French company RATP, struck again on 7-8 April, with a further strike planned on 15 April. The Unite union says changes the employer wants to impose could see drivers' pay cut by up to £2,000 per year.

Strikes at other RATP subsidiaries, London Sovereign and Quality Line, have been suspended after what Unite called “improved pay offers”, although these only amounted to 0.5% and 0.25% respectively. An opportunity for ongoing coordinated action across all three RATP companies has therefore been missed.

96% of Metroline West and 97% of Metroline Travel members have voted for strikes against the introduction of "remote sign-on". For now the bosses' plans for "remote sign-on" are paused by instructions from London Mayor Sadiq Khan; the Unite union says workers will strike unless the plans are definitely withdrawn.

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