Statement re London bus strike from Employees Representatives June 16th 2012
Re the bus strike planned for next Friday we draw members attention to the original mission statement as on the home page of our web site www.employeesrepresentatives.com
Among other things we say:
“Unite has a lot of things we don’t have like strike pay, but we don’t want to be involved in strikes, generally blunt instruments for solving problems.”
Our view is that the strike next Friday could do more harm than good and our information is that the employers are planning to break the strike by moving in replacement drivers at lower rates.
We fear most strikers will lose money – but even if there are small net gains for some, the strike(s) will cause considerable economic damage with all parties being net-losers in the longer term.
The tube drivers won their bonus because of their monopoly in the labour market – a monopoly maintained because of TFL’s reluctance to automate the tube network.
Bus drivers though they have a much tougher job and that job cannot be automated do not enjoy a comparable monopoly, or wages and conditions of service.
A bus-drivers’ strike will further motivate employers to replace strikers with even lower-paid workers.
Be aware that the government intends to make arbitrary dismissal easier and cheaper.
ER members need to balance the risks and consequences of supporting the strike v working normally.
Probationary workers (and others whose employment is vulnerable) could lose their jobs if they strike.
We cannot tell members what to do, but (to quote again from our Mission Statement) “if a member refuses to cross a picket line and management then victimises him/her we will represent the member in order to protect him/her from punitive action.”
Our advice is that the strike(s)is likely to fail, or will not proceed because of legal challenges.
As a union we aren’t in the business of putting our members jobs @ risk.
See ER Mission Statement: workers should not “sacrificed @ the altar of an avoidable strike.”
Cur recommendation is to work normally, both next Friday & subsequent days.
Whatever you decide, Employees Representative will support you should you suffer work-place harms because of how you respond to the strike call.
The issues raised have to be dealt with.
The demand for an equivalent Olympic bonus for bus workers, as given to the tube drivers, is justified, but it is TFL (who used to give a bonus to drivers) who should be the target, not the companies.
We urge TFL to respond proactively so the public is not inconvenienced.
William J Spring
Co-Executive Directors ER