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20 October 2021

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Gwent valleys Stagecoach bus drivers strike for fair pay

Cwmbran picket line 19 October. Photo: SP Wales

Cwmbran picket line 19 October. Photo: SP Wales   (Click to enlarge)

Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales

It was pouring with rain but pickets had been out since 4am this morning at Blackwood, Cwmbran and Brynmawr Stagecoach depots fighting for a decent pay rise.

Over 250 bus drivers, members of Unite the Union at the three Stagecoach depots in the Gwent valleys, have started 16 days of strike action to fight for a basic pay rise.

Bus services across the area have ground to a halt as drivers walked out at all three depots. They are demanding a rise to 10.50 an hour with no strings. Stagecoach is offering 10.10 but even that low wage would have to be funded by cuts in sick pay and breaks.

The drivers, who have kept services running throughout the pandemic, are paid just 9.50 and hour and have not had a pay rise for three years - in effect a 10% pay cut after inflation. Stagecoach was full of warm words for the efforts of the drivers through the pandemic and admit they deserve a rise but those words have proved to be empty while it has continued to give seven-figure payouts to company owners.

About half the workforce at Cwmbran depot turned out to support picket lines on the first day of the strike and the mood was absolutely determined to fight for as long as is necessary to win what is a basic wage demand.

Blackwood pickets reported that they have set up a WhatsApp group in which they're sharing memes and stories of passengers and 'bus spotters' supporting them.

As Russell Edwards, shop steward at Cwmbran depot, explained: "Some drivers in the south west of England have won well over 11 an hour".

Public support has been solid too with passengers wishing the drivers good luck the day before the strike and car drivers hooting their support.

A victory here would be a step towards fighting for a real living minimum wage of 15 an hour.

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In The Socialist 20 October 2021:


News

Fight for a socialist recovery

Tories to blame for GP crisis

Container delay carnage makes the case for socialist planning

Socialist nationalisation not bailouts for the bosses


Workplace news

Unite union policy conference

University workers ballot for strike action

Unite and fight for 30,000 permanent DWP jobs

Gwent valleys Stagecoach bus drivers strike for fair pay

Reinstate Gary Evans! Llanelli postal workers strike

Napo AGM 2021: Union placed on war footing

Scunthorpe scaffs strike for pay


People's budgets

People's Budgets - a socialist answer to cruel cuts

Brighton bin workers' victory in sight

Fight to defend homelessness services

Ealing People's Budget - cuts can be resisted

Northampton People's Budget - cuts and privatisation is a failed strategy

Fighting the cuts at the ballot box in Liverpool


Fall of apartheid

The fall of Apartheid in South Africa


Climate change

COP26: Trade unions must fight for a socialist transition to renewables

Save the planet from capitalist climate catastrophe


International

Austria: Chancellor Kurz resigns amid allegations of corruption


Obituary

Obituary - Tony Davison: "I work for Militant, but Laing's pay my wages"


Campaigns

"Are you the socialist cabby?"

Housing crisis: Tories and Labour are not on our side

Liverpool arms fair: Hundreds of protesters defy police 'dispersal zone'

Hackney children's centres - more education cuts are devastating

Biggest protest yet to save Stratford Circus

Doncaster: Vigil condemns violence against women


Readers' opinion

I'm unemployed: For me vacancy crisis is a lie

TV review: Squid Game


 

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Related links:

Bus:

triangleStagecoach drivers win 10.50 an hour

triangleGwent Stagecoach workers driving for victory on pay

triangleReaders' comments

triangleThe story of Joe Clough - Britain's first black bus driver

triangleBirmingham Clean Air Zone a tax on the poor

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Stagecoach:

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Pay:

triangleSupport uni workers' walk-out on pay and pensions

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Drivers:

triangleLeeds cab drivers protest against taxi rank move

Article dated 20 October 2021

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