First Bus Rusholme strikes – report from solidarity picket

15 January 2018

First Bus Rusholme strikes – report from solidarity picket

“Protestors joined striking First bus workers, who are members of Unite, and stopped scab buses early on Wednesday morning this week at the Rusholme depot in Manchester. The solidarity action was called by Manchester Unite the Resistance, the drivers were in their 13th week of strikes for parity pay because other First Bus drivers in Manchester are paid £5,000 more a year for the same job.

Around 40 trade unionists, Labour Party councillors and socialists including students joined the protest at 4am to stop First Bus operating the buses with strike breakers. Desperate to get scab drivers to another depot, a manager tried to push protestors out of the way with his car. Police were called and used their vans to block the road before shoving people out of the way to force two buses out. Two people were quickly arrested and de-arrested because all the violence was from the police. Angry councillors took officers’ names and collar numbers to complain about police actions as they act as muscle for First Bus bosses against the strike.

Before the protest ended, we discussed what to do next and have started making plans for other actions. First Bus had to tweet that the strike was massively disrupting service but the drivers need more solidarity, particularly from Unite the Union. Unite represents tens of thousands of workers across Greater Manchester and could force First Bus to make a proper deal for the drivers with mass solidarity.”

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