Winchester one bus each day was completely
checked over in the garage and so we had very
few breakdowns. Southampton being a much bigger
depot, this routine was not possible. In fact
at one point maintenance became such an issue
that a driver being dismissed for not taking
out what he believed to be a defective vehicle
caused a weekend strike. We mounted a picket
outside the bus station while the union committee
sat in the Lord Louis pub. The driver got
his job back, then left!
On another occasion we had a 'work to rule'.
This meant doing everything by the book which
made us late and very unpopular with the passengers.
It was also hard work.
|The Corporation crews went
on strike for more money. They belonged to
the Transport and General Workers Union while
we were in the National Union of Railwaymen,
sometimes known as 'No Use Rushing'. We also
ran city services but the union said we could
not join the dispute or ask for a higher rate
on these routes. We had to work as normal
but could not cope with the number of passengers
and were always glad to get out of the city.
|Eventually the Corporation
crews won a substantial pay increase while,
classed as country services, we fell behind.
In 1974, with inflation rising and against
the wishes of the union, a dispute flared
up. Lightning stoppages and an overtime ban
lasted for several weeks but we were forced
to back down. The company employed extra staff
and altered the rotas to cut our hours. Drivers
and conductors began to leave, many of them
going to the Corporation. I decided that was
what I should do too.
|Not long after I joined
the Corporation buses they had another dispute,
this time over the bonuses to be paid on conversion
of any routes to driver only operation. There
were many stoppages for mass meetings. We
all knew that one day there would be no more
conductors but that was still a few years
ahead. In the meanwhile, we wanted our share
of the savings being made.