Demonstrations staged by London bus drivers disrupted services during rush hour this morning as they geared up for two further days of action in the run up to this summer’s Olympics.
At least 40 routes were affected due to action at bus garages in Edgware, Westbourne Park, Willesden, Brixton, Garston and Alperton.
Drivers at 17 bus companies in the capital are demanding £500 in Olympic bonuses each due to a “massive increase in workload” this summer, according to the Unite
union, which represents them.
Rail and tube workers have already brokered deals ranging from £500 to £2,500 and London’s 24,000 bus workers are now the only major group of transport staff not to receive such an award.
If they do not get the pay out that they want, however, they are threatening to strike on Thursday 5 July and Tuesday 24 July – only three days before the Games’ opening ceremony.
Unite is also demanding that staff get an additional £100 for each day that they go on strike. Their first day of industrial action took place on Friday 22 June.
But Transport for London
’s managing director of surface transport, Leon Daniels, claimed that the union had so far failed to offer its members the £8.3 million brokered by London Mayor Boris Johnson from the Olympic Delivery Authority
. Moreover, he added that it was not TfL’s responsibility to step in to try and settle the dispute.
“It is and always has been for the business companies and Unite to resolve this dispute, and Londoners will doubtless agree that it is completely unnecessary for the Unite leadership to threaten further disruption,” Daniels said.
But Unite attested that the bus companies were refusing to join it in talks at the conciliation service Acas
and accused them of playing a “dangerous game of brinkmanship
” as there was less than a month to go before the Games.
The union also confirmed that it would re-ballot workers at three bus companies – Metroline
and Go Ahead
– which were prevented from joining last week’s walkout due to a last minute court injunction.
Meanwhile, industrial action planned by Tube workers on the Piccadilly Line on Sunday has been called off after an unrelated dispute over job conditions was settled.