The West Midlands is set for a historic bus strike after drivers and mechanics at National Express West Midlands voted by a massive 96% to take all-out continuous strike action, starting on 16 March.
Thanks to the virtual monopoly held by the company over bus services in Birmingham, the Black Country and Coventry, services are set to grind to a halt when the 3,300 Unite members covered by the ballot walk out.
The same day that the ballot result was announced, the National Express parent company made an announcement of its own – of underlying profits during 2022 of £197.3 million. While profits have doubled, National Express bosses can only find the funds to offer a below-inflation increase of 8% to the workforce, claiming there’s no more money available.
To add insult to injury, following the ballot result, a management communication suggested that workers should “look at their payslip” – as if they needed reminding how little they earn – and referred them to online counselling!
Speaking to workers on the garage gates, it’s clear that there is a strong mood to strike among workers who have had many years of declining pay and conditions, as the job becomes ever more stressful. Socialist Party members will be right behind them in their fight for a living pay rise, as we are with all workers.
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