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ACTOR JOHN HENSHAW JOINS FIRST BUS DRIVERS EQUALITY FIGHT PROTEST
 

Star date: 8th February 2018 

SALFORD BUSES STOPPED IN EARLY MORNING BUS PROTEST AT QUEENS ROAD

Actor John Henshaw joined this morning's protest at the First Bus Queens Road depot which stopped buses leaving, as further action took place to support Rusholme drivers fighting for equal pay with their colleagues.

"This is all about fairness" John Henshaw told the Salford Star "You can't pay one man for doing a job and another man less, it's a disgrace. People have got to turn around and say 'We're not standing for it'..."

Full details here...


First Bus drivers strike support protest at Queens Road depot First Bus drivers strike support protest at Queens Road depot First Bus drivers strike support protest at Queens Road depot
First Bus drivers strike support protest at Queens Road depot First Bus drivers strike support protest at Queens Road depot First Bus drivers strike support protest at Queens Road depot
First Bus drivers strike support protest at Queens Road depot First Bus drivers strike support protest at Queens Road depot
click image to enlarge

This week, as the hundredth anniversary of the suffragettes equality victory is celebrated, and as Tesco workers slap in claims for equal pay, more action took place this morning in support of First Bus drivers who have been fighting for equal pay.

Between 5:45am and 7:30am scores of buses were stopped from leaving the Queens Road depot as gates were blocked by protesters, who were joined by actor John Henshaw.

"I'm here to support the drivers as this is all about fairness" he told the Salford Star "You can't pay one man for doing a job and another man less, it's a disgrace. And it's not fair; they're doing the same job at 23% less, and I think it's absolutely disgusting really."

The dispute, which has been ongoing for months, centres on the pay disparity that sees First Bus drivers in Rusholme on 9.05 an hour, while colleagues in other depots like Queens Road get 12.10 an hour; a discrepancy of around 5,000 a year.

Since regular strike action and supporting protests have taken place, management has now offered 10 an hour, which has been rejected, so unions and management are set to go to conciliatory organisation, ACAS, to try to resolve the dispute.

"Tomorrow is the last day of action pending that decision, but there's no doubt that the support the drivers have received has given them a lot of encouragement" Rusholme resident and supporter, James Quinn explained "I also think it's influenced the management which wasn't budging at all but has now got to be seen to be doing something.

"I think they thought that the drivers would lose morale but that hasn't happened, the support remains for them" he added "This is one of First's biggest garages in the area and we're sending a message to them that they shouldn't have stiffed First drivers for the last four or five years like they have, and that we'll continue to support them."

Today's blockade, which also stopped buses going into Salford, wasn't official union action as that would be illegal under stringent anti-strike laws brought in by successive governments. But supporters were defiant that if the unions couldn't act, they would. The police arrived at 7am but didn't try to stop the protest.

"I think it's important for workers in different situations to support each other" said James Quinn "Disputes like this don't happen in isolation and we're trying to get back to a time when people did support each other. Meanwhile we really do hope for a good outcome for the drivers."

His sentiments were underlined by John Henshaw, who, while working as a binman for ten years, says he did time 'on the gate' during strikes.

"We're all human beings but in this world some are more equal than others and that's got to stop" he explained "People should get the rate for the job and no man should get more than another man. If they can get away with it they will do but we've all got the same responsibilities, the same bills to pay.

"This is about equality" he added "It's one hundred year since the suffragettes and people have got to turn around and say 'We're not standing for it' and support these drivers. We're asking for fairness and equality for everybody really."


For a full background also see previous Salford Star article on the last First Bus protest at the Queens Road depot click here

Bob the regular wrote
at 07:48:16 on 09 February 2018
I agree Salford buses were the best before selnec days. The old green buses, well most were new, not like the shitty old back loaders manchester had. When selnec came in, all the buses were painted in selnec colours, guess what, they then gave us all the old shit buses, thinking we were too stupid to notice.Before Selnec, Salford council also made a profit for the council, not much, but a profit, all the others didn't. Sounds mad, Salford council running a successful enterprise. In them days , councilors were respected, they deserved it, we had people like Nellie Openshaw, a great woman.Well educated and knew what she was doing. In those days Salford was much better than today. Regarding electric buses, what is needed, is some sort of system where more smaller and faster electric buses are used. at peak times more can be put into use. you would use self employed drivers, a bit like they do in Cape Town. Also , electric cars should be allowed in bus lanes,like they do in advanced Norway, this would encourage more people to buy them. there are all sorts of things you can do. The big daft bus belching black fumes out has had its day. its got to go.

Amanda Finnegan wrote
at 18:02:11 on 08 February 2018
Renationalise (dad ex-conductor for Salford City Transport, best place hes ever worked for, and says so too). Not sure about getting rid of buses though Bob.

Bob the regular wrote
at 12:10:11 on 08 February 2018
Bus companies are as bad as the trains. They produce nothing but filth and pollution on our roads, and cause needless congestion. Chapel street a perfect example. Anything that increases their costs,and drives people off the bus and into clean electric cars is a good idea. With regards to this dispute ,where does it end? First have depots all over the country,they are a national firm. This has been done by aquiring different companies around the country with different pay structures.Each depot is close to another one. If each depot achieves parity with its next nearest depot, then a situation will arise whereby they all be on parity with London drivers pay, which I am sure they would all like.Let the bus gang go on strike,then look and see how fast the traffic moves on chapel street. While you're at it, at the same time, let's get the air quality team on the job, to see how much cleaner the air is without the bus.

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