London bus drivers speak out against smears and censorship of WSWS by defenders of Unite | #socialmedia

The pay dispute at Arriva London South is being followed closely by bus drivers across London from the standpoint of launching a long overdue fightback.

Anger and opposition have continued to grow against Unite’s sabotage of the struggle for a genuine pay increase, including by preventing a strike at Brixton garage in late March while drivers at three other Arriva London South garages walked out. The union then re-entered pay negotiations only to recycle the below inflation 3 percent offer which bus drivers had taken strike action against, only with the proviso that it was backdated and the addition of an insulting £750 lump sum.

Brixton Bus Garage [Photo: WSWS]

Its actions refute the claims made by a group of so-called union “activists”, defenders of Unite and promoters of its General Secretary Sharon Graham, that the union has been reformed under her leadership and will fight the corner of bus workers against the companies.

These claims have been directed against a rank-and-file movement which the group has opposed in their attempt to restrain bus drivers’ mounting resistance. But their assertion that an intervention by Graham would lead to negotiations being conducted in drivers’ favour was contradicted by the fact that one of her so-called “generals”—Bobby Morton, Unite national officer for passenger transport—was part of the negotiating team proposing the sellout.

To deflect attention away from this debacle, the union activists then launched a smear campaign against the WSWS over its article, “‘Activists’ promote Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham in Arriva London South pay dispute.”

The purpose of their hysterical response was to spread confusion over the 2021/2 pay claim at Arriva London South in order to make respectable a below inflation deal and legitimise censorship of the WSWS.

This was answered in the article “Arriva London South pay dispute: Fact versus fiction”which, along with “Unite blocks joint action by bus drivers against pay restraint”, attracted widespread readership and support among bus drivers on social media.

Workers expressed a broad condemnation of Unite, including by describing the union as being in the pocket of Arriva, calling for a no confidence vote in the union, and insisting on a pay demand of no less than 9 percent and up to 15 percent.

As we wrote, “It is critical that drivers speak out and oppose the unprincipled efforts to silence the WSWS. Political censorship sets a dangerous precedent. It is a direct attack on drivers’ right to know information being suppressed by the mainstream media, the bus companies and Unite the union. It is aimed at blocking a politically conscious fightback by the working class.”

Bus drivers have responded to this appeal by explaining their reasons for following and sharing the articles from the WSWS and the importance of the fight taken up by the London Bus Rank-and-File Committee.

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