_Busmen and the Pay Pause
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FROM OUR INDUSTRIAL CORRESPONDENT
[WAITING for Selwyn. That seems to be the new parlour game being played VV by unions and employers. Latest to join in the game are the busmen. Last week leaders of 39,000 London busworkers presented for the second time their three-point claim for higher pay and better cond:tions.
At the end of a three-hour meeting they appeared perfectly content to allow London Transport Executive to cons:der their arguments further and to come back some time next month with their reply.
By then, they clearly hime, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr, Selwyn Lloyd, will have given an indication of when the Government's pay pause policy is to come to an end. thus enabling London Transport to make an offer.
There was a feeling that the Executive, too, Would not be averse to offering higher pay, at least on a selective basis, as they cannot see any other way of overcoming the acute shortage of bus crews.
But until the Government give the ailclear the' are unl:kely to commit themselves.
After the talks Mr. Sam Henderson, National Bus Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, said that London Transport had given no indication that they were prepared to change their minds and make an offer. But they had agreed, in the light of the union's new . submission, to meet them again.
A clue to the Executive's position was given when they originally rejected the claim last month. They said then that like other employers they felt bound to have regard to the Government's pay pause policy.
The men's claim is for a " substantial " pay rise, time and a half for all Saturday work and less week-end working. All the L.T.E. offered last time was a scarcity allowance " for drivers and a joint committee to look into week-end work. At the resumed talks Mr. Henderson pointed out that the index of retail prices had risen a further two points since they had submitted their claim, He also mentioned that similar claims were due to be discussed next month with the employers of 100,000 company and 77,000 municipal busmen in the provinces.
It is believed he Wanted the Executive's reply before January 11 when the first of the two meetings is due to be held.
After the meeting the busmen's negotiating committee decided to call a special delegate conference of London busmen as soon as the reply has been received.
Any settlement would, of course, have to be approved by such a conference. But this would also be the body to decide on strike or other retaliatory action should the answer be an unsatisfactory one.
There is little doubt should they make such a decision on the grounds that their claim had been -turned down because of Government policy they would receive the full support of Mr. Frank Cousins, the union's general secretary.
He has repeatedly made it clear that he will fight that policy wherever he has the organization and strength. He lacks neither among the London busmen.
Meanwhile, on Monday, delegates from 74 London garages voted 71-3 in favour of one-day-a-week token strikes. every Monday from January 29, in support of the Underground men's similar stoppages over pay claim rejections.