Shut down Badgerline

“THERE ARE some who are chomping at the bit to walk out with us, but in other areas stewards can’t guarantee action from their members,” an Eastern National striker told me.

The 105 bus workers in Chelmsford are continuing their strike against the privatised bus giant, Badgerline, following the sacking of members of the Transport & General Workers Union. The dispute started in November when management sacked drivers for taking strike action after being asked to drive for five hours without a break.

The TGWU set up an alternative bus service for the travelling public with four mini-buses. This service is being escalated to over a dozen buses and the local passenger boycott of Badgerline is being well supported. The strike fund stands at just over £22,000 and growing.

Every Tuesday the Railway Club in Chelmsford is the venue for everyone involved to meet and discuss the strike progress. “Families are vital to the maintenance of the strike. It is only right that they should have a say in what we do,” is the common sentiment.

Union members in other Badgerline subsidiaries are in contact with the strikers. Many employees within the group identify strongly with their Essex colleagues as they face the same aggressive management techniques. However some garages, while sympathetic, are not sure their members would take action.

Recognising this, the union is calling a one day conference - which should take place within four weeks - of all Badgerline Group members. It is recognised that solidarity must be built, as premature action could do more harm than good. In conjunction, a mass demonstration will be called to support the picket and details of this will be available soon.

The next few weeks will be crucial for all those who see the need to break the anti-trade union laws. Other workers around the country need to start organising support now, wherever Badgerline operates.

John Praven