Friday, 20 April 2012

Belfast bus drivers take wildcat strike action to re-instate work colleague

Belfast city centre was brought to a standstill this morning after up to 100 metro workers took unofficial wildcat action in protest against the suspension of a work colleague over ’misconduct.’ Those on strike parked their empty buses outside City Hall in a show of solidarity for a driver they say has been suspended for allegedly damaging the disabled ramp of a bus. Talks were then held between Translink bosses and union representatives in a bid to resolve the dispute.

Following a meeting on the grounds of Belfast city hall between workers and union officials with angry words being exchanged over a range of issues including working conditions, workers agreed to return to work following assurances that the sacked driver would be immediately re-instated.

This re-instatement marks a small victory. We are far more effective when we take direct action while still on the job. By deliberately reducing the boss's profits while continuing to collect wages, you can cripple the boss without giving some scab the opportunity to take your job.

Unofficial, or wildcat, action - that is, organised with other workers independent of union officials bypasses anti-union laws meaning there are no union funds to sequester. You don't provide the bosses with advance warning - giving them the opportunity to arrange scabs.

Our best weapon is organisation. If one worker stands up and protests, the bosses will squash him or her like a bug. Squashed bugs are obviously of little use to their families, friends, and social movements in general. But if all the workers stand up together, the boss will have no choice but to take you seriously. They may fire any individual worker who makes a fuss, but they might find it difficult to fire their entire workforce.