May 18 2013 Latest news:
Friday, June 22, 2012
Thousands of London bus workers have gone ahead with a 24-hour strike over Olympic pay bonuses today, causing travel disruption for commuters and tourists.
Members of Unite at 17 bus companies are demanding a £500 payment for working during the Games.
The action went ahead even though three companies - Arriva, Metroline and London General - were granted an injunction in the High Court yesterday preventing Unite members they employ from going on strike.
It is understood that the workers going on strike represent about 85 per cent of the total workforce.
It had been hoped that London Mayor Boris Johnson obtaining £8.3 million of funding from the Olympic Delivery Authority would avert the strike, but the move failed.
Mr Johnson said: “I am saddened, disappointed and enormously frustrated that despite brokering £8.3 million of funding, union leaders and the private bus companies have failed to reach agreement, and as a result it looks likely that Londoners will face unnecessary and needless disruption.
“It seems to me that some militant union leaders remain hell-bent on strike action, and that is wholly unacceptable.”
Peter Hendy, London’s transport commissioner, said: “It is, and always has been, for the bus companies and Unite to resolve this dispute. Given their inability to do so, the Mayor obtained - unprecedentedly - £8.3 million from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).
“This would allow every bus driver in London in a garage where one or more routes were affected by the 2012 Games to gain, over the 29 days of the competitions, about £500.
“As I understand it, the bus companies made three offers to supplement this with more of their own money, but the Unite leadership have refused to budge from their position of £500 after tax for everybody, and indeed have asked for more during the course of the negotiations.
“The union leadership have also refused to defer the strike to give time for further negotiations or for any of the offers to be put to their members.”
Unite said the strike will see workers in more than 70 of the capital’s bus garages walk out.
The union blamed the disruption on the refusal by Transport for London (TfL) and the bus operators to negotiate a meaningful settlement.