Go-Ahead transport group paying shareholders dividends while cutting bus drivers’ wages
The multi-million pound Go-Ahead transport group has been accused of sheer greed following the publication of its half yearly results.
The results show that the company made £12.3 million profit on its local bus service, while its London and international bus service recorded a profit of £37.3 million.
The company has also revealed that it is intending “paying a dividend at an appropriate level in the 2021 calendar year”. The announcement of the dividend payment is controversial for two reasons:
Firstly, while the number of bus passengers has been severely reduced during the pandemic and especially during lockdowns, the company has received £218. 4 million of funding from the government to continue to run bus services and this money will now be used to pay a dividend to shareholders.
Secondly, Go-Ahead’s subsidiary Go North West which operates bus services in Manchester is locked in a vicious fire and rehire dispute with the Unite union. The company is attempting to force drivers onto vastly inferior contracts, which will result in workers having to work longer for no extra pay, an effective pay cut of £2,500 per annum.
As a result of Go North West’s fire and rehire tactics, over 400 bus drivers in Manchester have been on all out/continuous strike action from Sunday 28 February. In an attempt to break the strike the company has established a ‘rogue bus service’, which is risking passenger’s health by operating overcrowded buses and dramatically increasing the danger of transmitting Covid-19.
Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said, “The sheer greed of Go-Ahead has been laid bare.
“Go-Ahead is intent on using taxpayers’ money to pay dividends to fat cat shareholders at the same time that they are cutting the pay of bus drivers who have kept the service running throughout the pandemic,” he added.
“Go-Ahead care more about keeping its shareholders happy, rather than the wellbeing of bus drivers, who they expect to work even longer hours for no extra pay.
“Go-Ahead’s attitude demonstrates all that is wrong about the UK’s privatised bus service.”
By Barckley Sumner