London bus workers and operators heading for Olympic pay dispute

08:22 02 March 2012

Hot on the heels of a dispute between Tube workers and bosses over Olympics pay, a confrontation involving bus drivers is now brewing.

The Unite union, which represents 28,000 bus workers, claims operators in the capital are “forcing” a clash with staff over extra pay during the Games.

Bus workers want a £500 Olympic payment to reward the extra work they say will be required of them, but Unite says a deadline for negotiation with bosses have been missed without any meetings being held.

Unite points out that other transport workers in London have been offered extra pay for working during the Olympics, and said Transport for London was predicting an extra 800,000 passengers on the London bus network during the event.

Peter Kavanagh, Unite regional secretary for London, said: “London’s bus operators are doing their staff, passengers and the capital a huge disservice by refusing to even meet with Unite to discuss a reasonable Olympic payment.

“Virtually every other public transport worker in London will receive an Olympic payment.

“Our members are ready to meet the challenge of this summer’s games. Bus workers will face huge pressures as a result of an extra 800,000 passengers using the London bus network, but their employers won’t even meet to discuss the workers’ contribution.

“By burying their heads in the sand for the last three months, London’s bus operators are forcing a confrontation with 28,000 bus workers.

“Unite is preparing to hold a consultative ballot at the end of March. We are ready and willing to sit down for talks at any time but unfortunately, the dismissive attitude of the employers suggests they are more inclined towards confrontation.”

Unite’s leader Len McCluskey came under fire earlier this week when he warned of possible public sector strikes during the Olympics.

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