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[chox] From 1984/5 to Looming Bus Strikes is This The Underclass Uprising?

BUS passengers across South Yorkshire could face days of disruption to
their journeys after drivers voted overwhelmingly to ballot for strike
action. Furious employees at First in South Yorkshire have voted almost 10
to one to ballot for strike, after a row broke out with management over
the alleged unfair sacking of a trade union official. Members of Unite the
Union working for First in Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster took part in
a ?test the water? postal ballot.

The poll was organised to gauge how many members would consider taking
part in a ballot for industrial action, underclassrising understands 403
drivers voted in favour of a ballot - and only 42 were against. If an
eventual strike does go ahead, bus services across the county could be
disrupted severely by drivers manning a picket line instead of working
their shifts.

The strike is welcome, but we have some other concerns, The union have not
been vocal over the continued hike of bus fairs, We Want Our Buses Back, a
campaign started by Socialist Party members, has been fighting against
high fares for years.

The issues such as the lack of low-platform buses, low frequency and
particularly the run-down of services, it?s starting to seem like every
time we get the bus it?s costing more and more. This isn?t just a minor
annoyance, it?s a serious problem. For one thing, bus users tend to be
people who can?t afford cars in the first place, so the people most
affected by fare increases are those who can afford them the least.

Meanwhile, those who have access to cars aren?t going to be tempted away
by overpriced buses, so fare increases mean more cars on the road, and so
more traffic congestion, making it harder for everyone to get around. And,
without trying to come across like an annoying preachy hippy, it?s really
not that great for the planet we live on either.

This would all just be pointless whining, if it wasn?t for the fact that
things don?t have to be this way. Like so many other things, buses seem
totally outside of our control, but they actually only run because of us ?
the users who pay for the service to run, and the drivers (and other
workers) who actually keep them going. Only a few years ago, Sheffield saw
the beginnings of a movement of passengers and drivers, when the We Want
Our Buses Back campaign scared the bus bosses into freezing fares for a
year (and then became a victim of its own success, because there wasn?t
much else to protest about after that). Maybe it?s time to start
rebuilding that spirit, so we can remind the Stagecoach and First bosses
who really keeps the system going? It won?t be easy, but it?s got to be
better than paying silly money just to ride a sodding bus. (plagiarised
from fargate speaker no 5)

First said at the time of it was putting up its prices despite falling oil
prices - because it bulk-bought its fuel for next year in the summer, when
the cost was high. But the rise also follows a hefty increase in First
Group?s UK profits and despite its South Yorkshire arm already charging
more than some of the firm?s other British bus subsidiaries.

So from January 3, this year, single fares was increased by 10p, day
tickets by 50p to £4.50 for travel across the county or £4 for travel only
in Sheffield, Rotherham or Doncaster. Weekly tickets was rised by £1,
while monthly tickets will rise from £54 to £60 in Sheffield, and from £50
to £54 in Rotherham and Doncaster. This being the third increase in as
many years.

All of this when we are spun the lie of Climate Change told that we should
increase our use of public transport, this bleating from The Middle Class
who it seems have decided that the lies we are told over climate change,
of course it matters how we treat the earth, 25 years on we can but learn
from The Great Miners Strike of 1984/85

Here is what Dave Dougless said in his review of this Book  A Civil War
Without Guns

    The miners represented a social block to everything  Thatcherism stood
for. Her economic and social programme, centrally the control of
labour, could not proceed unhindered while the miners remained
undefeated. ?The Enemy Within? was a correct description in terms of
class conflict. Certainly she had aspired to lop off what was seen as
marginal capacity in the industry which stood in the way of super
profit and a more privitisable coal industry. This would be unlikely
to be achieved without a defeat of the NUM. For these reasons, the
host of economic facts suggesting that there were actually few if any
unprofitable pits in macro economic terms, doesn?t matter. It wasn?t
really an argument about unprofitable pits, a closed pit producing
nothing, with an unemployed workforce earning and spending nothing,
was far more uneconomic than a one fluctuating between individual
profit and loss. This fight among other things, was about slimming
down the coal industry for privatisation, at the same time stamping
the managerial right to manage on the work force, that meant taking
them on .

    Just the same now, our class need to take the greedy bosses on, and
also take on The real ?Enemy Within?: The Middle Class. We Want our
Buses Back have a Public Meeting at 7 pm on 25th March 2008 at The
Quakers Meeting House, St James St next to The Cathedral. The first
time we saw the slogan another world is possible was during 1984, 25
years on are we about to see the underclass rise off their knees, we
can but hope so. We will be there side by side with The Striking Bus

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Contact: projekt oekonux.de

[English translation]
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