Transport for London (TfL) warns that services will be “patchy” if the strike goes ahead on January 13, with some areas likely to be affected more than others. Customers with bus and tram pass season tickets will be able to use them on the Underground, Docklands Light Railway and overground train services, and passengers are also urged to check the TfL website for up-to-date information.
Members of the Unite union voted for the 24-hour stoppage because they want the capital’s 18 bus operators to enter into talks about a single London-wide agreement covering bus workers’ pay, terms and conditions.
In contrast to tube drivers, there isn’t one collective pay deal for London bus drivers, whose pay is instead negotiated on a company by company basis. Unite argues that this has led to inequality, with pay for new drivers varying from £9.30 to £12.34 an hour, depending on the company.
“Strike action is not a step our members take lightly, but bus workers who keep London moving 24 hours a day, seven days a week, have had enough of pay inequality and unfair pay disparities,” said Wayne King, regional officer for Unite.
“The blame for the disruption that strike action will cause sits squarely with London’s bus companies. They have repeatedly ignored our offers for collective talks and need to get their heads out of the sand.”
If the strike goes ahead on Tuesday it could also affect night bus services operating into Wednesday morning. TfL has blasted the strike, saying that fewer than 16 per cent of bus drivers in London voted in favour of industrial action.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director for surface transport, said: “It is extremely disappointing that Unite has decided to threaten 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 would urge them to seek a swift and fair resolution for the sake of passengers.”
Check out www.tfl.gov.uk/buses for the latest information – and keep your fingers crossed that it gets called off….