‘Position of strength’

Unite action wins better pay

Reading time: 3 min

Unite delegate Paul Ainsworth spoke in support of a composite motion on bus workers, focusing on pay and industrial action.

He said, “As we meet here the bus industry is in the second year of a nationwide strike wave. Over 40,000 bus workers have been involved in over 150 disputes in every corner of the UK.

“And Congress, together we are winning inflation-beating pay rises bus workers more than deserve. 18 per cent for Abellio in London. 16 per cent for National Express drivers in the West Midlands. 20 per cent for Stagecoach drivers in Hull.

“The sheer number of successful disputes is dragging up pay levels across the industry. Unite’s analysis shows successful strikes are delivering on average over £3,000 for each striking driver.

“What’s more, this collective action has dragged the ‘rate for the job’ up by £2,000 since the pandemic. That means the action of bus workers has raised the pay floor for all workers in the industry.

“It is from our growing position of collective strength that transport workers must now consider the future.

We believe it is by improving jobs, pay and conditions today that we can guarantee the strongest protection for the jobs of tomorrow.”

He continued, “Congress, the public transport network has been broken by Tory mismanagement. Bus privatisation and fragmentation has been a costly experiment which has utterly failed.

“We cannot leave the future of public transport to those who have broken it so comprehensively.

“That is why this important motion commits us to campaign for a just transition based on full worker participation – on the principle ‘nothing about us without us.”

He urged support of the composite.

By Amanda Campbell

Pic by Mark Thomas