MPs back RMT demands to cut unsafe long bus hours
Last year, we surveyed RMT bus worker members to ask about their experiences of working in the industry, as part of the Union's response to the Transport Committee inquiry into 'The Health of the Bus Market'. Hundreds of you responded and this feedback ensured that the voices of RMT bus worker members were at the forefront of our submission.
The key message from the survey was that local bus services are in decline because they are run for private profit and not as a public service. For instance:
84% of bus workers said they think bus services should be publicly owned
76% did not think there was enough funding for bus services
80% were unaware of any Government policies that support and protect bus services
There were multiple examples of poor working conditions and long hours citied, for instance:
“Cut to the bone. Have to work 6 days for a decent wage.”
“There are not enough drivers and drivers are encouraged to do more hours, thus putting passengers' lives at risk”
“Poor support from bus operators to drivers. Profit before wages”
In our response to the inquiry, the RMT highlighted the urgent need to tackle low pay and long hours in the industry, which is not subject to the same regulations as long distance drivers. The RMT set out its support for a private members Bill, tabled by Matt Western MP, which seeks to limit local bus driver hours and increase breaks to the same levels as those for long distance drivers, with no detriment to pay.
Matt Western has also set up an online petition in support of his Bill, which you can sign online here - https://bit.ly/2K98y7h
The Transport Committee has recently published its response to the inquiry and it backs the RMT's call for bus driver hours to be limited. The report states that 'we are concerned that recruitment and retention in the bus industry is hampered by long hours and poor pay' and recommends that the Government consult on amending legislation as proposed by Matt Western's Bill.
The Report also backed demands for a national forum and discussions involving the unions and employers to address long pay, recruitment, and safety.
This shows that your voices are being heard. Please be assured that the RMT will continue to campaign on this important issue both nationally and locally and will update you on the campaign's progress in due course.