Over 20,000 bus drivers across London’s 18 bus operators began voting today (Wednesday 3 December) on whether to take strike action over ‘farcical and unfair’ pay disparities across the capital’s buses in a campaign to secure one London wide agreement covering pay, terms and conditions.
In contrast to tube drivers, there is not 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 £2 an hour for new starters opening up with pay varying from £9.30 to £11.46 an hour depending on the company.
The ballot of the members of Britain’s largest union, Unite closes on Thursday 18 December raising the possibility of strike action in the new year if London’s bus operators continue with their refusal to enter talks. A consultative ballot in November saw 96 per cent of members indicate they would be willing to take strike action.
Commenting, Wayne King London regional officer for Unite said: “Pay on London buses has become a farce. You have drivers doing the same work, driving the same routes at the same time of day, but being paid different rates.
“Rather than one set of negotiations covering all of London’s bus drivers we have 18. It is not only inefficient but it is leading to pay inequality and resentment among the men and women who keep London on the move 24 hours a day.
“The refusal of London’s bus operators to end the pay farce and establish a collective forum to address pay inequality could lead to industrial action in the new year.”
Unite represents over 20,000 bus workers working for eighteen 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.
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.