18 July 2014 – The ITF-affiliated Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) international vice-president Bruce Hamilton urged US transport company Greyhound to resume negotiations in good faith at parent company FirstGroup’s AGM yesterday.
Greyhound, a household name in North America, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. According to Hamilton, Greyhound workers’ wages buy less now than they would have in 1914, with many workers in the US and Canada on wages so low that they qualify for government assistance.
Adding insult to injury, FirstGroup’s annual report for the financial year 2013/14 reveals extraordinary executive pay rises with the CEO Tim O’Toole now on GBP 2 million a year. At the same time, UK passengers saw further ticket price hikes. The Associated Society of Locomotive Steam Enginemen and Firemen (ASLEF) has criticised the CEO salary while Unite the union’s bus members in Glasgow have warned of a potential strike next week over a below inflation pay raise offer by the company. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and Unite have already expressed their international cooperation to the ATU.
Last week, ATU activists rallied outside FirstGroup’s US headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio for better conditions. Actions have also been held in US cities including Los Angeles and Atlanta. Hamilton stressed at the AGM that the problem will not go away unless the management returns to the bargaining table.
ITF inland transport secretary Mac Urata also attended the AGM, saying: “FirstGroup’s annual report says it is committed to the principles set out in the International Labour Organization declaration on fundamental rights at work. To put that in practice, they must treat their employees in the USA as they do in the UK and offer decent wages. Together with our transport unions in the UK, we call upon the company to resolve the issues of Greyhound terminal workers.”