UNITE organisers are today protesting outside of the offices of Thornton Buses In Ashington and Go Ahead Pensions in Newcastle in protest at their links to the Go Ahead group’s actions.

The council is reported to be a customer of the Go Ahead Group and is said to be involved in trialling their ‘Bus on Demand’ smartphone application.

The union, is calling on the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to publicly back a declaration to outlaw fire and rehire on bus services.

Unite says the Go Ahead group, which owns bus services in London and Manchester (Go North West), is using the “disgraceful tactic” to attack Manchester bus drivers’ pay and conditions.

They fear other bus workers could face a similar fate unless the leaders of London and Manchester act.

The Mayors have the power to outlaw fire and rehire by preventing employers which use this immoral tactic from bidding for bus contracts controlled by Transport for London and Transport for Greater Manchester.

More than 400 drivers in Manchester have been on all out strike since Sunday, February 28.

Unite claims Go North West’s fire and rehire plans mean bus drivers will be forced to work longer for no additional pay.

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said: “Today we are calling on Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan to publicly back a declaration which prevents employers who use fire and rehire from bidding for future contracts in the great cities of London and Manchester.

“Warm words in support of the bus drivers in Manchester who are under attack are simply not enough and workers in London could be next.

“It’s obviously wrong for profitable companies to sack workers and then re-employ them on inferior terms. Workers need more than words of sympathy. While the Conservative Government drags its heels the Labour Mayors of Manchester and London can lead the way by using their powers to outlaw fire and rehire on their watch.”