Hold Tight! - Disputes
 
Chapter 6
 
Page 56
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Hold Tight!
Chapter 6
Southampton
35 Fans
36 Smash hits
37 New money
38 Eastleigh
39 Tight squeeze
40 Romsey
41 Hythe
42 Holy city
43 Docks tours
44 Fawley & Calshot
45 Kids and animals
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50 Just sack me!
51 Machine wars
52 Not funny
53 Borrowing
54 Demon drink
55 One for the road
56 Disputes
Chapters
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
 
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At 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.
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