The East London Bus Group (ELBG), one of the biggest bus companies in London, runs bus services in east, south east and central London and employs around 4,500 drivers. ELBG is owned by a consortium headed by Australian investment bank Macquarie. It claims to be making a loss. Yet Macquarie’s declared profits in April were up 21 percent to £660 million.
Four hundred drivers attended a meeting in East Ham town hall in May to hear plans about ELBG’s plans to attack pay and conditions. They stated firmly that they would resist this. They voted by a large majority for an immediate strike ballot against any proposed cuts. These included supervisors receiving a pay cut of £4000 a year, redundancies and attacks on holiday allowances, sick pay and an increase in hours worked. The mass meeting put the wind up ELBG and they backed down on these proposed cuts in the short term.
An article in that rag, the Sun, made out that drivers were earning £34,000pa and put this down to being one of the reasons that ELBG is in trouble. Drivers are angry at this allegation. There has been a pay freeze since April 2008 and there was disbelief among bus crews about anyone earning anything like that.
Bus workers are insisting that despite the sell up, both staffing levels and bus routes should be preserved. Watch this space for more news.