London’s bus drivers have overwhelmingly backed industrial action in a dispute over ‘unfair’ pay disparities between the capital’s 18 bus operators, their union Unite announced today (Thursday 18 December).
The vote in favour, averaging 85 per cent across the 18 companies, raises the prospect of a London wide bus strike in the new year if the capital’s bus operators continue to refuse to enter talks about the formation of 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 bus drivers in the capital, whose pay is negotiated on a company by company basis leading to pay inequality and disparities between drivers driving the same routes.
A refusal by the bus operators to address the issue has 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.
As well as strike action members also backed action short of a strike by 89 per cent.
Commenting, Wayne King London regional officer for Unite said: “This overwhelming vote in favour of strike action across London’s buses should be a wake-up call to the capital’s bus operators who continue to defend pay inequality.
“Bus workers who keep our capital running 24 hours a day, seven days a week have had enough of the growing pay disparities and the growing resentment it breeds across the industry.
“Rather than one set of negotiations covering all of London’s bus drivers we have 18. It is simply not fair to have drivers doing the same work, driving the same routes at the same time of day, but being paid different rates.
“London’s bus operators need to enter into meaningful talks aimed at ending pay inequality and establishing a collective forum that covers bus workers’ pay terms and conditions in London. Otherwise their continued refusal risks the disruption of a London wide bus strike in the new year.”
Unite represents over 27,000 bus workers working for 18 bus companies who serve Greater London. These are: Arriva North, Arriva South, Selkent, London General, Metroline, Metroline West, Metrobus, CT Plus, London United, Abellio South, Abellio West, London Sovereign, Stagecoach, Blue Triangle, Northumberland Park, Tower Transit, Docklands and London Central.
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.
The Electoral Reform Services independent scrutineers' report of voting can be downloaded here