London’s bus workers strike over ‘unfair’ pay disparities

London's bus workers to strike over 'unfair' pay disparities

06 January 2015

London’s 18 bus operators were accused of ‘burying their heads in the sand’ over ‘glaringly unfair’ pay disparities as Britain’s largest union, Unite announced that up to 27,000 bus workers would be taking part in a London wide bus strike on Tuesday 13 January.  

The 24 hour stoppage follows the continued refusal by London’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 bus drivers in the capital, whose pay is negotiated on a company by company basis leading to pay inequality and disparities. 

There are over 80 different pay rates covering London’s bus drivers, doing the same job, even driving the same route but for different rates of pay. 

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.

Commenting, Wayne King London regional officer for Unite said: “Passengers pay one fare to travel on London’s iconic red buses, yet there are over 80 different pay rates covering bus workers, many doing the same job or driving the same route but for different rates of pay.

“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.

“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 and start negotiating meaningfully about ending pay inequality on London’s buses.”

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. 

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.