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Bus workers vote overwhelmingly for a strike ballot as union leader warns of international action

BUS workers in Manchester have voted overwhelmingly to hold a strike ballot over pay cuts and the victimisation of a trade union representative.

The ballot will involve 500 workers who are members of Unite, employed by private operator GoNorthWest.

In the initial vote, workers were asked: “Do you wish to proceed to a full industrial action ballot?” Only 6 per cent voted against.

Early-morning protests against the pay cut and victimisation are taking place regularly outside the workers’ Queen’s Road depot in Cheetham, halting scheduled services, despite a heavy police presence.

Another protest is taking place on Friday, timed to coincide with a disciplinary hearing involving the victimised union activist.

GoNorthWest is part of international firm the Go Ahead Group, which operates in Britain, Ireland, Singapore, Norway and Germany.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has warned the company that if necessary, industrial action will be spread to the company’s operations outside Britain.

The union said that the company is to cut wages by £2,000 a year.

GoNorthWest told the Morning Star that it will compensate the workers for the pay cut with a one-off payment of £5,000. 

But the union said that within three years the pay cut will have overtaken the compensation, leaving workers £2,000 a year worse off.                   

One of today’s protesters told the Morning Star: “The workers and their supporters have been really boosted by the 94 per cent ballot result, and it was great to see Len McCluskey’s statement about international action yesterday.”

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