South West London commuters could face bus strike over Olympic bonus pay


Commuters could be hit by another city-wide bus strike on Thursday.


By Claire Diamond

Commuters in South West London could be hit by another city-wide bus strike over Olympic bonus pay this Thursday.

The dispute is between the Unite union and 20 London bus companies as Unite seeks £500 for each of its 20,000 members for working over the Olympic period.

This follows a London-wide bus strike on June 22 with yet another strike planned for July 24, just days before the start of the Games.

Councillor Greg Smith, Deputy Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, said: “These are tough economic times and the union bosses have failed to explain why they think they deserve extra cash from the tax payers simply for doing their jobs.

“We are already the second most congested borough in London and the last thing hard working residents and businesses need is for the buses and trains to grind to a halt.”

Talks to try and avert the strike began on Sunday at conciliation service Acas.

Ahead of the talks Unite said the £500 offered by the bus operators was rejected at previous talks as it required its members to work all 29 days of the Olympics and Paralympics to achieve it.

The union also claims that the 20 bus operators have some £2 billion sitting in their accounts and could easily pay for the bonuses.

Steve Turner, Unite executive director of policy, said: “We all want the Olympics to succeed but if the bus employers cannot get serious about solving this dispute then we say to the mayor, Boris Johnson show some leadership, it’s what you were elected to do; get on one of your bikes and join these talks now.”

But some commuters in South West London are already feeling frustrated by the upcoming strikes.

Bar manager Darren Lanigan, 31, of St John’s Hill near Clapham Junction said: “I also work in a customer facing job that will be busier over the Olympics – I’m not getting a bonus so why should they?”

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