London bus strike: Union and bus companies lock horns over pay deal

The capital’s love-hate relationship with public transport looks set to continue as a union has announced three more days of London-wide bus strikes starting tomorrow.

Unite the Union said strikes will take place on Thursday February 5, Friday February 13 and Monday February 16 after disputes between Unite and London’s bus companies.

The bus companies which could be affected by the strike include Abellio, Arriva, CT Plus, Go Ahead, London Sovereign, London United, Metroline, Stagecoach and Tower Transit.

According to TfL the 406, 411 and 418 buses from Kingston, the S3 from Sutton Hospital, the 470 from Colliers Wood Station, the K5 from Ham and the X26 from West Croydon won’t be affected.

The dispute stems from Unite’s desire for all drivers to be paid the same wage.

Unite regional officer Wayne King said: “We have been working tirelessly in our efforts to bring the employers to the table to discuss a solution to this dispute.

“We firmly believe that there is a simple solution to be had but sadly the refusal by the operators to engage in collective talks is risking the inevitable disruption that strike action will bring to passengers.

“The travelling public understand that further strike action is the last resort and can be avoided if the operators agree to talk collectively about the pay chaos on London’s buses.

“Bus passengers pay one fare, so why don’t bus drivers get paid the same rate for doing the same job?

“We urge London’s bus operators to see sense and collectively engage in talks to give London’s bus workers a fair deal.”

However Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport, argues that one pay deal isn’t possible.

He said: “Some drivers do not work late or at weekends, whereas others do and some drivers drive large double-deckers while others drive small single-deckers requiring a different set of skills.

“Each bus company has offered to meet Unite individually to try and resolve the dispute – the union refused to talk.

“But the most worrying thing of all is that the additional costs of paying a uniform rate to all drivers would inevitably mean higher fares and reduced services for passengers and fewer jobs for drivers.”

Are you going to be affected by the strikes? Let us know in the comments box below.

Picture courtesy of Duncan, with thanks

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