Bus services across London are to be affected by planned bus strikes.
The strike is the result of a dispute between Unite union and the companies who operate London’s busses. The strike is over driver pay and conditions.
London’s buses are not all organised by one company. Currently 18 operators control the services across the capital with differing pay scales. TfL are the main umbrella company who supervises all bus services.
To explain how the privatised bus system on the capital works is Simon Calder, the Independent’s Travel Correspondent.
The walk-out affects services from 4am today and through the night, as well as night bus services operating until Wednesday morning.
Buses on January 14 should operate as normal.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said:
“It is extremely disappointing that Unite has decided to go ahead with this unnecessary disruption, especially given the low turnout for the ballot and low numbers voting for the strike. Bus drivers’ pay and conditions are a matter for the bus companies and Unite to discuss, as it has been for 20 years, and we continue to urge them to seek a swift and fair resolution for the sake of our passengers.”
TfL’s Director of buses Mike Weston, spoke to London Live’s Reya El-Salahi at TFL Headquarters in Southwark.
TfL have reported that only 16 per cent of drivers have voted in favour of industrial action. However, Unite have issued a statement saying that an independent survey of drivers found two thirds want the strike to go ahead.
Wayne King London regional officer for Unite, said:
“As bus company directors enjoy lottery style salaries, bus drivers doing the same job on the same route are being pitted against one another on different rates of pay.
“Strike action is the last resort. We’ve been forced into this position by the operators’ refusal to even meet with us. Passengers sitting side by side on the same route expect to pay the same fare, so why shouldn’t drivers expect to be paid the same rate?
“The bus operators need to stop pleading poverty in defending pay inequality and collectively start negotiating about a fairer deal for London’s bus workers.”
Unite say they were more than willing to sit down collectively with the 18 bus companies in question to talk about pay disparities and working conditions, but have had their offers rebuffed.
The union is reporting that the pay difference had led to pay gaps of over £3 an hour for new starters opening up, with pay varying from £9.30 to £12.34 an hour depending on the company.
The UNITE Regional Secretary, Roger Dillion, explains the driver pay and conditions, as well as the pay disparity between contracts of different companies.
TFL are telling passengers to check with their website for updates, and London Live will be providing updates through the day.
Customers with a Bus & Tram Pass season ticket will be able to use it on the Underground, DLR and London Overground