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RMT Conference Bus workers vow to take on private operators over rest breaks and standards

BUS workers have vowed to take on private operators over rest breaks and work towards national agreed standards across the industry. 

Two motions were unanimously passed today at the RMT union’s AGM in Hull, seeking to change the law on driving hours and create a standard set of terms and conditions for all bus workers regardless of which company they work for. 

The union wants to amend the law to make it a requirement for bus drivers to take a break after five-and-a-half hours of duty.

Currently, breaks are calculated on the basis of time spent driving a bus. 

Speaking to the Morning Star after the motions was passed, Lee Rundle of South Devon Bus branch said: “Companies are squeezing our drivers and bending the rules.

“There are technicalities there, which we want to tighten up and make sure are watertight.”

Pointing out that the 1980s saw massive changes in bus ownership, Mr Rundle said: “There’s lots of operators out there.  

“Back in the ’80s, Thatcher and her government broke up the bus industry, took it away from nationalised [operators] and sold it off to individual operating companies."

Asked what message bus workers in the union have for profit-hungry bus companies, Mr Rundle added: “We are organised and we are coming for them because we want our people to have quality of work but also the ability to be able to go home and be rested.”

Supporting the resolutions, senior assistant general secretary Eddie Dempsey praised bus workers for taking a stand, adding: “This is a classic class-struggle item.

“We will get the lobbying going, but we must be mindful the employers will resist changes to the regulation because we are eating into their profits.”

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