Great support for Cardiff bus strike

"No more lies - give us a rise"

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Hundreds of Cardiff Bus drivers converged on Cardiff City Centre today in an impressive show of strength as the bus network ground to a virtual halt.

The drivers have taken action after weeks (and years) of fruitless negotiations with management at council-owned Cardiff Bus. They have submitted a 4% pay claim after years of below inflation deals and management has responded with a 3% with strings attached, nothing like the 5% reported in the media. A further 2% would be not be paid until the end of 2016. And other benefits like the Christmas bonus are threatened.

And this after years of low rises. In 2011 the drivers agreed a self-funded pay rise; in 2012 there was no pay rise; in 2013 the managing director got a £10,000 rise while drivers got below inflation 2%; and in 2014 there were 70 redundancies.

Picketing at Sloper Road bus depot began at 2.00 am and management only managed to get 30 out of 220 buses on the road including using ex-drivers, at least one of whom has had two drink-driving convictions. A skeleton service operated and despite the disruption there was excellent support from the public.

Of course none of this has been reported in the media, who have faithfully reported Cardiff Bus management's spin that the drivers are spurning a 5% pay rise. Strikers are especially angry at the untruths being reported about them with chants football-style "No more lies, give us a rise!".

The rally at the end of a spirited march through the city centre was loud and confident. Every speaker was interrupted with applause. There was a lot of anger at the attacks from Cardiff Labour councillors who have called the drivers "greedy", one worker at the rally promising to remember them at election time and Andy Richards, regional secretary of UNITE, condemned "self serving politicians".

Dave Reid


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