London bus dispute against low pay, pay cuts and longer hours

by Socialist Party reporters

Socialist Party members supported bus drivers’ picket lines across London on 22 February. The drivers are fighting back against low pay, pay cuts, and longer hours being imposed by their employer, private bus company RATP, which is using the pandemic to get away with attacks on key workers.

London bus strikers February 2021
London bus strikers February 2021
Photo: London SP

Around 2,000 bus drivers are involved in the dispute at the company’s subsidiaries London United, Quality Line and London Sovereign.

Due to the proposed contracts, drivers face wage cuts of £2,500 which will reduce wages to 2015 levels, and drivers will be expected to be at work for far longer.

The company has also threatened to introduce zero-hour contracts, which would result in drivers only being paid for when they are physically driving a bus and not when they are actually at work.

The Unite regional officer for RATP, Michelle Braveboy, said: “RATP has a long history of attacking one group of workers at a time, attempting to slash pay and conditions, before moving onto the next group. Our members are drawing a line in the sand with this dispute.”

On the picket lines, strikers and supporters were also interested in the Socialist Party’s campaign for ‘socialists into city hall’, during the upcoming London elections. They took leaflets from Socialist Party members to distribute.

Bus rep and Socialist Party member Moe
Bus rep and Socialist Party member Moe

Victory for Judith, defend Moe

London Socialist Party member Moe Muhsin Manir, a Unite bus driver rep, is in a disciplinary on a gross misconduct charge at the Abellio Walworth garage in South London.

In December, at neighbouring Battersea, the same company had sacked another Unite rep, Judith Katera.

But we are delighted to report that after a fantastic campaign, Judith has been reinstated!

This shows that union-busting can be defeated. As usual, bosses target union reps to more easily attack workers.