Activists in Manchester took peaceful direct action in defence of a victimised trade unionist, reports Chris Neville.
This morning, at Manchester's Queen’s Road Bus Depot, trade unionists and community activists staged direct action against the local bus company, Go North West.
The action, in response to Go North West’s suspension of the depot’s union branch Chairperson, took place in the early hours of the morning. As buses looked to depart the depot for their early morning routes, exits were blocked with activists repeatedly crossing the road and stopping the buses from setting off, forcing them to stay inside.
According to a Unite press release, the member suspended has been repeatedly targeted and bullied by the management and was the only Unite rep not to be furloughed. On the other hand, formal complaints against the management have repeatedly been ignored. The management's attacks on the member also coincide with the company's plans to reduce the pay of 500 drivers.
Reaction from drivers at the depot was positive, with many passing on words of support and encouragement as activists passed them across the open shutters of the depot. Whilst a small number of police officers did turn up, they did not directly intervene and the action carried on uninterrupted.
The impact on Go North West's service and profits today will have been substantial. A clear message was sent that attacks on workers and trade unionists will not be tolerated and that the local community is willing to stand in solidarity to defend workers and their rights to organise in their workplaces.
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