11/10/2009 - East London Bus Strike

THOUSANDS of transport workers have just staged a 24-hour strike.

Over 2,000 East London Bus Group company drivers and engineers walked out on Monday morning.  They are angry at ELBGs imposition of a zero per cent pay deal.

Garages at Barking, Bow, Leyton, Romford, Upton Park and West Ham came to a standstill.  Over 40 bus routes were halted and 15 others were disrupted by the industrial action.

The strike was solid.  Workers are said to be sickened by the hypocrisy of ELBG bosses.  Whilst ordinary workers are expected to accept a zero per cent offer, the owners of the company has announced massive profits.

Nigel Barrett – the boss of the East London Bus Group – has claimed that he couldn’t afford a pay rise this year – as "the current economic environment is impacting the company's revenue."

However, ELBG is owned by the international Macquarie investment bank.  The Australian-based ‘Macquarie Group (Macquarie) is a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services’.

Its profits have shot up by nearly 80 per cent over the last six months.  It now has a tidy £265 million tucked away!  Surely some of that could be pumped into ELBG to help finance a reasonable pay rise for its workforce?

Talks between the company and workers had been going on since April of this year.  However, they broke down last Thursday, 5th November.  This was because ELBG insisted on imposing a pay freeze.  According to some reports, the company is still claiming that it needs to cut costs during the recession.

All the workers want is a fair pay rise
.  They have apologized to the tens of thousands of commuters who use ELBG, but have warned that they may have to strike again.