Saturday, October 11, 2008

London newsbriefs

  • Bus drivers take action.
  • Members of the giant union Unite employed at 11 bus garages in London last week joined forces with 3,500 of their colleagues who have already taken industrial action for strikes on Friday 10th and Wednesday 22nd October.
    The 2,500 Unite members who work for Metroline voted 88.5 per cent in favour of strike action in a recent ballot by the union.
    Unite submitted a London wide claim to all bus operators in March of this year to challenge the current system whereby drivers (and other grades) performing identical jobs within the TfL regulated industry, receive hugely varying pay and conditions.
    Bus workers at First Capital East, First Centre West and Metrobus have already been out on strike during September.
    Unite members at Transdev Sovereign, which covers North and North West London, have just voted in a consultative ballot by 98 per cent in favour of strike action with a full postal ballot now set to proceed.
    Unite is calling for a single rate of pay for drivers of £30,000 a year, based on a 38-hour week. Currently the 18 London bus companies all operate with different pay structures, with pay inequalities of up to £6,000 a year.
    Peter Kavanagh, Unite senior regional organiser, said: “There is a startling disparity between bus drivers’ pay in the capital, with rosters in some companies seeing many drivers’ complete nearly 60 hours per week.
    “Not only is this unsafe, it is unfair to have bus workers across London doing the same job for less money or having to put in much longer hours.
    “Our members will continue to strike and we will continue to ballot further bus companies until Boris Johnson listens up and engages in serious discussions for equal pay for all London bus workers.”

  • Holocaust denier’ arrested
    AUSTRALIAN teacher Gerald Frederick Toben was arrested last week in transit at Heathrow airport and held pending extradition on a warrant from the German government.
    In 1999 Toben was sentenced to nine months in prison under a German law that bans “defaming the dead” – effectively spreading the neo-Nazi claims that the Holocaust was a hoax.
    He was held under a German arrest warrant which claimed that he had carried out “worldwide internet publication” of material that was anti-Semitic and denied, approved or played down the mass murder of Jews perpetrated by the Nazis during the Second World War.

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