Bus drivers in London with the union Unite have confirmed their intentions to strike because of a dispute over pay during the Olympics. Workers are to strike from 3am on Friday, the 22nd of Ju
Bus drivers in London with the union Unite have confirmed their intentions to strike because of a dispute over pay during the Olympics. Workers are to strike from 3am on Friday, the 22nd of June, until 3am on Saturday, the 23rd of June, according to a report from the BBC. Unite said according to the BBC that further 24 hour strikes could be coming.
In a press release, Unite’s London regional secretary Peter Kavanagh accused Transport for London, the agency within the City of London that oversees public transport, of not intervening. ‘London buses will come to a standstill for the first time in a generation across London on 22 June,’ Kavanagh said. ‘The blame lies squarely with the bus operators and TfL. The bus companies haven’t met with Unite once to discuss bus workers’ extra contribution to the Olympic Games and TfL has refused to intervene. This dispute could be resolved at a stroke but if the bus companies and TfL continue to do nothing Unite will call further strikes up to and during the Olympic Games.’
Kavanagh added that drivers played an important role in London. ‘Bus workers are on the frontline of London’s transport system dealing with millions of passengers yet all TfL has done so far is insult them,’ Kavanagh said. ‘There is no moral or economic justification for treating bus workers like second class citizens. There is a clear precedent for rewarding bus workers for keeping London moving over the Olympics.’
In a statement to Kettle, Leon Daniels, Transport for London’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said a solution must be sought as quickly as possible. ‘We remain clear that this is a matter that must be resolved between the private bus operating companies and the bus workers they employ and we urge both parties to seek a resolution as soon as possible,’ Daniels said. ‘Everyone wants a successful Olympic Games this summer and this action is the wrong approach at a time when London is preparing to welcome visitors from around the world to the capital.’
Unite has said the 20,000 workers should receive a bonus of £500 because of the sudden increase in the workload due to a surge in the amount of visitors from within the UK and internationally because of the Olympics, according to a BBC report. This is the first strike on bus services in London since 1982, when the union took industrial action with nurses.
Unite says that approximately 800,000 passengers will utilise the buses available in the city. Unite adds in the release that bonuses for other transport workers have already been arranged, with Heathrow Express workers receiving £700, Network Rail workers receiving £500, Docklands Rail Highway workers receiving £900, Virgin Rail workers receiving £500, London Overground workers receiving £600, London Underground workers receiving at least £850 and BAA staff receiving up to £1,200.
The Olympics are due to start in London on the 27th of July.