Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here

Transport :: Public transport

spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

spotArguments for socialism

spotPeople

spotInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All Campaigns subcategories:

Anti-capitalism

Anti-fascist

Anti-racism

Anti-war

Asylum

Black and Asian

Children

CNWP

Corporate crime

Disability

Education

Election campaigns

Environment

EU

Finance

Food

Gender Recognition Act

Health and safety

Health and welfare

Housing

Human Rights

LGBT Pride

Local government

Local services

Low pay

Migration

Nationalisation

New workers party

NHS

Pensions

Post Office

Poverty

Privatisation

Public Services

Socialism

Socialist

Sport

Stop the slaughter of Tamils

Students

The state

* Transport

TUSC

Welfare rights

Women

Workplace and TU campaigns

Youth


Public transport


16 December 2017

Search site for keywords: North West - Pay - Drivers - Labour - Unite - Strike - Transport - Manchester - Buses - Public transport

Arriva drivers' picket, 30.10.17, photo Hugh Caffrey

Arriva drivers' picket, 30.10.17, photo Hugh Caffrey   (Click to enlarge)

North West: Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

Hugh Caffrey, north west region Socialist Party

Unite in the north-west has achieved a victory on pay after bus company Arriva backed down and offered a two-year pay deal, accepted by a majority of members in a ballot this week.

Unite states that the deal is worth 3.2% this year backdated to April, and 2.6% from next April, which is broadly equivalent to Unite's claim for a 3% pay rise.

Faced with a massively solid strike even in the run-up to Christmas, this brutal employer used provocative scabs, calling the police on peaceful pickets, media spin, 'new' offers worth less than the old ones, and so on.

Yet the strikes remained overwhelming solid and public support remained resoundingly high. This is a testament to just how sick are workers and the public of rip-off companies like Arriva, and of the determination of the drivers and engineers and the basic solidarity of working class people.

Big business was starting to scream in protest, as Arriva bickering over pennies cost them millions of pounds in lost revenue - the strike had the effect of turning the wider boss class against the employer at fault in this dispute.

This important victory will give confidence to the ongoing struggles in the region, not least the Firstbus strike in Manchester for fair pay, and the Merseyrail and Arriva Northern disputes to retain the train guards.

Determined action by these transport workers has great potential power in its effects on the local economy.

Pay parity still to be won

Arriva has for years had a deeply divisive pay structure, presumably intended to cut across disputes like this, where different pay rates apply to different garages or areas.

Unite's policy is for pay parity by levelling up the lower-paid areas in Greater Manchester and Cheshire to the higher-paid rates of Merseyside.

While a percentage pay rise has been achieved, pay parity is still a long way off and the desire to fight for it is clearly one of the reasons for nearly one-third of Unite members rejecting the offer. Arriva will no doubt be hoping that by the end of the two-year deal the workforce will have become resigned to unfair pay at slightly higher hourly rates!

Unite is now in a strong position to wage a campaign to strengthen its organisation across the garages, demand pay parity, and if that isn't forthcoming then to launch a serious campaign for it at the appropriate date.

Demand public ownership

The political case for buses to be returned to public ownership needs to be taken up by Unite and the wider trade union movement with the public, and demand that the Labour Party take it on too.

The Labour leadership and left should be demanding that instead of metro-mayors like Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram spinning the Tories' pro-market Buses Bill as something radical, they mobilise support for re-municipalisation of public transport to be guaranteed by the next Labour government.

Labour presently shows no inclination to do this but the Socialist Party will continue to do so.

Rotheram and Burnham have had enough buzzwords about 'integration' and 'smart ticketing' and who knows what else, but nothing useful to say about the dispute, which in practise has meant siding with Arriva bosses who aimed to just sit it out.

Socialist Party members have been on the pickets every week across the region, helped build wider support, advocated strike demonstrations and helped mobilise a turnout for it when one was called in Liverpool.

We issued five strike bulletins to update strikers in this and the other public transport disputes around the region about what was taking place. These were welcomed by pickets; at many garages almost snatched out of our hands.

A few individual Labour Party members may have visited a few picket lines, and Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson - seemingly as part of a longstanding personal vendetta against Arriva management - supported the workers' claim once their action was happening, but this aside, the deafening silence from both Labour's left and right on the strike has not gone unnoticed by strikers.

The Firstbus dispute in Manchester, where drivers in the Rusholme garage are paid 5,000 a year less than another garage only five miles away, remains ongoing.

Here too Andy Burnham remains resolutely silent, although some Labour lefts have visited the pickets. Strikers facing an equally brutal and provocative management can take heart from the Arriva drivers withstanding such treatment, and can link up with the likes of the Mears housing maintenance workers to demand that the Labour Party acts to address their concerns by using its considerable clout through the franchising, contracting, etc, procedures.

The local trade union movement needs to rally round both disputes, mobilise serious numbers for all solidarity action which those involved would wish to be organised, and help these determined workers to win what would be major local victories for our class.

The conclusion for the national union leaders should be that workers are willing to fight. They're not cowed by the Trade Union Act, if anything this has made angry union members more determined to wage serious struggles until victory.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 






Transport keywords:

Bus (49)

Buses (103)

Car industry (37)

Chrysler (2)

Cycling (5)

Cyclists (5)

Fares (59)

Fords (8)

Franchises (7)

GM (20)

Public transport (71)

Rail (321)

Railtrack (10)

Transport (281)

Travel (36)

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Article dated 16 December 2017

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

MEMBER RESOURCES

Pay in Fighting Fund

Pay in paper and book sales

Leaflets

Bulk book orders

New member submission

WHAT'S ON

triangle14 Apr Hackney & Islington Socialist Party: Lessons of the 1921 Poplar councillors' struggle

triangle14 Apr Tyneside Socialist Party: Our TUSC against cuts electoral challenge

triangle15 Apr Sheffield Socialist Party: When Liverpool beat Thatcher

More...


The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party

Covid-19

News

Elections

Workplace news

Lessons from history

Campaigns news

Readers' opinion

Subscribespacer|spacerebook / Kindlespacer|spacerPDF versionspacer|spacerText / Printspacer|spacer1129 onlinespacer|spacerBack issuesspacer|spacer Audio files


Thurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo by Dave Murray

Thurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo Dave Murray

What We Stand For
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Platform setting: =

Desktop version