Updated 17th March 2021 original article 13th March 2021
by Re-instate Moe Campaigners
Moe Muhsin Manir, Unite Walworth garage rep, bus driver on the C10 London bus route and Socialist Party member, has been sacked by Abellio. This is another attack on the union after Battersea rep Judith Katera was dismissed before Christmas. After the union and members fought back, Judith was reinstated in February. Moe himself was threatened with dismissal over a year ago on a trumped-up charge but the company was forced back.
We have to do the same to get Moe back in Walworth now. It’s the same old story — management attacks union reps to then cut bus workers’ pay and terms and conditions. Some drivers are asking, are they going for Moe because Abellio want to impose remote sign-on? Drivers in Metroline in North London are currently balloting for strike action over this. Last summer in Manchester, a Unite rep was targeted and now drivers are on indefinite strike because Go Ahead/Go North West wants to use fire and rehire to cut wages by £2,500.
Moe is a committed union rep and has a proud record of fighting for bus drivers in Abellio and across London. He was on the picket lines in the battle for the Olympic bonus in 2012 and for sector-wide negotiations in 2015.
He has also supported every strike taken by bus drivers, including the action currently being taken by workers at RATP. Unite asked him to come to Walworth from Battersea to help build the strength of the union in the garage. As a result, union membership grew from 25% to 75%.
Over the last 14 months in particular, it has been clear that Moe has been targeted by management:
The first attempt to sack him early last year was in the middle of a London-wide Unite consultation ballot on safety. They then even threatened Moe about his union election leaflet! The election was stopped by Unite after it was proved that a vote of no-confidence petition against Moe was fraudulent.
Last July, on the very day that Unite started an investigation into this petition, a new complaint went in against Moe! Ten days later, a further complaint was put in against Moe and the same day a similar one went in against Judith that led to her sacking.
At that time, during some of the most difficult days of the Covid pandemic, when over 30 London bus drivers tragically died (the number is now 51), Moe was leading the campaign to make buses safe by fighting for the front doors to be closed.
Moe fights for every improvement for drivers but believes that there should be one contract on the best pay and terms in London, that stops the bosses playing off bus workers against each other. He demands that the London Labour mayor refuses to pass on Tory Transport for London budget cuts and that the 18 private bus companies be taken back into public ownership.
Moe is appealing against his sacking but he needs to be backed up, including by industrial action, to tell management: ‘Hands off Moe and our union!’.
Campaign to reinstate sacked union activists
Come to: Trade Unionists Under Attack, Solidarity Meeting!
7pm – Wednesday 24 March 2021
Online event, hosted by Southampton and South West Hampshire Trades Union Council and Southern and South East Shop Stewards Network.
Gary Carney, RMT activist and sacked London Underground worker
Moe Muhsin Manir, Unite activist and sacked London Bus driver
Declan Clune, RMT activist and sacked Southampton Bus Worker
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 764 535 2620 — Passcode: STUC2020
Declan Clune was informed by Bluestar buses, part of Go Ahead South Coast, that his dismissal has been upheld following his appeal last week. Reports of ongoing bullying and harassment of trade union reps at Bluestar show that this is an attack on effective trade unionism and nothing else.
The RMT Southampton District Bus and Coach branch is determined to fight this outrageous attack on their rep and branch secretary.
London Bus Drivers have been the worst affected group of workers during the Coronavirus pandemic, with 43 (officially, some estimates over 50) dying as of early February 2021, and the bus companies more concerned with getting the job done, literally over the drivers’ dead bodies, and not being too concerned about the safety of their staff. Those local union representatives of the drivers, who have stood up to the companies, and enforced safety for the workforce, have had to face victimisation by the company.
Meanwhile bus drivers in Manchester, key workers who have taken big risks during the pandemic, are on strike against ‘Fire and Rehire’
In the space of a couple of weeks, two bus driver union reps have been sacked – Declan Clune, RMT, at Bluestar in Hampshire (see below) and Moe Muhsin Manir, Unite, at Abellio in South London.
Both are members of the National Shop Stewards Network steering committee and both have built reputations for fighting for their members, particularly coming to the fore in the fight for workplace safety during the pandemic. Declan’s appeal is 10 March and Moe is appealing against his dismissal which took place on 8 March.
Huge support for Declan
by Sue Atkins, President, Southampton Trades Council
RMT drivers at Bluestar were outraged at the news of Declan Clune’s sacking by management, accused of bringing the company into disrepute for reporting a bridge strike to Network Rail. Many drivers at the depot have come forward to report other incidents of bridge strikes that the company has scandalously ignored.
It is a legal duty of any driver to report a bridge strike whether a bus driver or member of the public. To be dismissed in such circumstances is viewed by the Southampton RMT District Bus and Coach Branch as a union-busting attack on their trade union rights and passenger safety, which they are determined to fight.
Support has flooded into the campaign with over £2,600 donated to Declan’s RMT branch fighting fund. Declan’s sacking has been met with widespread support from RMT and other trade union activists, including invitations to speak at meetings across the country. This attack, alongside that of other trade union reps, is viewed as a concerted effort by employers to undermine workplace organisation as a prelude to attacking jobs, pay and working conditions.
In a more light-hearted indication of support for Declan, he was nominated by over 400 people as Bluestar’s key worker of the pandemic in a company contest. The winner’s name was to be painted onto the front of a bus. Needless to say the company has cancelled the contest as a result of the support for Declan.
The company has been rattled by the strong backing for Declan and steps are now being taken by the RMT to prepare for further action if he is not reinstated.
London bus drivers continue walkout
by Helen Pattison, London Socialist Party
Bus workers in Unite, striking at private company RATP in London continued on 5 March. On the picket lines they listed all the impacts of privatisation, from the lack of air conditioning and heating in the drivers’ cabs, to the company’s plans to extend their shifts, pay and holiday disparity among drivers.
One driver put it bluntly, saying that ultimately private companies exist to make profit, and agreed with Socialist Party members that the buses needed to be renationalised. There was also enthusiasm once again for candidates against London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who talks no end about being the son of a bus driver, but while in office has failed to act to protect drivers or other transport workers from the pandemic or the drive for profit.