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1957: Bus dispute turns violent

There have been violent scenes around Britain as the strike by busmen in the English regions enters its fourth day.

In some instances strike-breaking drivers were attacked and vehicles vandalised, including those with passengers on board.

In Derbyshire one driver, Basil Flint, had to be taken to hospital after being hit in the stomach with an iron bar.

Another driver, Harry Davies, said he was overpowered and pulled from his bus on the road between Hemsworth and Wakefield in Yorkshire.

"I was hit in the mouth and kicked in the stomach.

"While I lay on the ground they smashed the windows and headlights," Mr Davies told reporters.

So far the union representing the busmen, the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU), has refused to admit its members were behind the violence.

TGWU spokesman Frank Coyle said: "I have no comment on that because I have heard it only from the Press but I am sure our members are not involved."

Car pools

About 100,000 busmen employed by provincial companies went out on strike on Saturday in support of a claim for 1 per week pay rise.

So far the employers' highest offer has been 3s a week.

The employers say their offer more than compensates for the rise in the cost of living since the busmen's last pay rise of 5s in November.

So far the strike appears to have had surprisingly little impact on commuters.

Car pools have sprung up among colleagues with several people travelling to work in one vehicle.

In certain areas train companies have reported business up by a quarter and some employers are laying on coaches to ferry staff from stations to their workplace.

In Context
The next day the minister of transport referred the deadlock in the bus pay negotiations to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal for arbitration.

On 26 July the tribunal decided to award the provincial busmen an increase of 11s - just over half the amount they had originally demanded - and the strike ended.

A week later the municipal drivers - those employed in cities like London and Manchester - who had not been officially on strike, accepted their employers' pay rise offer of the same amount.

After the conclusion of the dispute 11 Conservative MPs tabled a motion for a full inquiry into the violence.


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