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Manchester bus drivers on strike
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Blog by Joanne Harris, London bus driver

Go North West bus strike

Hi all, now I know that this blog is aimed at putting out info on London bus disputes or things of general interest in London but I feel the need to start on the events happening in Manchester with the bus drivers striking over Go North Wests plans to fire and rehire all 400 of its bus drivers.  The strike is now in its sixth week and has gained publicity from Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester, various MPs and the Fire Brigades union turning up with a fire appliance to offer messages of solidarity.  

So far Go North West have not budged and talks have collapsed during last week, so the strike goes on.  Andy Burnham has promised to create the London system of franchising for bus routes which he claims will be better for passengers and for bus drivers alike.  He’s promised that bus drivers’ terms and conditions will be protected.  Let’s wait and see where that goes.

London disputes

Meanwhile in London the remote sign-on dispute has escalated despite Sadiq Khan’s promise of a moratorium on remote sign on.  The moratorium effectively stops any company from implementing remote sign on until a full investigation is concluded on this change in work practice.  

For those that don’t know, remote sign-on takes the driver away from their place of work to sign on and can make them sign on literally anywhere on the bus route.  This could leave drivers travelling about all over London and not being paid until they actually sign on for work on the bus.  This will lead to longer days with less pay.  

This dispute is between Metroline West and Metroline Travel and the ballot has returned a strike Yes vote of over 97%.  So if the moratorium with investigation doesn’t provide Unite with the result wanted then the mandate is there for industrial action.  Well done to all at Metroline including their Officer Mary Summers.

Finally the RATP London United dispute rumbles on with them refusing to offer a pay raise that isn’t a real time cut to pay.  So solidarity to all who are seeing their pay, terms and conditions being dragged down by companies looking to make profit from the misery of the Covid pandemic.  

Watch this space, so they say.

On a lighter note, a bus driver put out a video this week showing that a customer had nicked all the safety rails off the top deck of their bus whilst in service at night.  Why they should want them is anyone’s guess, no doubt CCTV may show who did it.