On the Picket Line

Bus drivers strike wins solidarity in UK

By Hugo Wils
March 29, 2021

MANCHESTER, England — Workers in Manchester and beyond have joined the picket line of Go North West bus drivers here, to bring solidarity to the striking Unite union members. The drivers walked out Feb. 28 to fight a company move to impose longer working hours at the same pay.

The bosses are determined to break the strike. They have relocated the Queens Road bus depot to a separate location in the city and are outsourcing their routes to nonunionized bus and coach companies.

A delegation of six workers from Pilgrim’s Pride meat factory in Dukinfield went to the picket line March 11, bringing a solidarity card signed by more than 40 co-workers and a donation of 55 pounds ($76) to the strike fund.

“What the drivers are doing is good,” Akwasi Gaisie, who was part of the delegation, told the Militant. “It encourages other workers to fight things like this.” Anthony Matley, Community union branch secretary at Pilgrim’s, joined the delegation. “If you let this go, what are you going to accept in the future?” he said. “The company is using bully tactics.”

Pete Clifford, Communist League candidate for Greater Manchester mayor, campaigned at the gates of the Pilgrim’s plant March 5. “Many workers stopped to greet me, learn more about the CL campaign and the bus drivers strike,” said Clifford, who used to work there.

Eight rail workers organized by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union also visited the bus drivers’ picket line March 10 to hand over a 200-pound donation to the strike fund.

Messages of support and checks to the fund can be sent to Pat Gleave, c/o Unite Branch NW5/4, Quayside House, Salford Quays M50 3SU. Funds can also be transferred to “TGWU Queens Road,” sort code: 60-83-01, account number: 20256669, reference: “STRIKE2021.”