Transport for London’s (TfL) unequal and unfair pay policy will have an adverse impact on the 50,000 vulnerable Londoners who rely on the capital’s Dial-a-Ride service, when staff strike for 48 hours next week.
It will mean that the elderly and disabled won’t be able to make vital trips to the doctors, libraries, leisure facilities and shops.
Unite, the country’s largest union which represents more than 400 drivers, centre staff and engineers in the TfL Dial- a-Ride scheme, will strike for 48 hours in protest over unequal pay and conditions. The strike will run from 06.00 on Thursday 29 May until 06.00 on Saturday 31 May.
The staff provide a free door-to-door service for about 50,000 elderly and disabled residents by providing transport across the capital for those who find it difficult to access other modes of public transport.
Unite said that the TfL management had declined to take up Unite’s offer to take the dispute to the conciliation service, Acas - and had unilaterally said it would impose the pay deal at the end of this month.
The crux of the dispute is that Dial-a-Ride workers are unhappy and demotivated after being offered a pay rise less than their counterparts in other parts of the TfL ‘family’.
London Dial-a-Ride bosses have offered employees a non-pensionable cash lump sum of 2.75 per cent for 2013 and four per cent for this year. In 2013, all the bargaining units within TfL, except one, were awarded at least a 3.2 per cent pensionable pay rise.
Dial-a-Ride members rejected this pay deal and balloted members for industrial action in April. Since 16 April, members have been participating in continuous industrial action short of a strike. As a result, management has threatened to deduct £25 from employees who are taking part in this action.
Unite regional officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said “After the threat to deduct the pay of our members taking part in lawful industrial action, we have no choice, but to call for a 48 hour stoppage across Dial-a-Ride in London.
“Our members are very conscious that their action will hit the elderly and disabled in London who rely on the service to make vital trips to the doctors, libraries, leisure facilities and shops – but they have been forced into a corner.
“All our members are asking for is equality within the TfL ‘family’ and the chance to resolve the dispute through constructive talks.
“Management is intransigent and has even refused to go to Acas. If talks at Acas can resolve matters for TfL London Underground employees, why is that not good enough for TfL Dial-a-Ride employees?
“We believe this dispute can be resolved through discussion and negotiation, rather than taking strike action, but hardline bosses have left us with no choice.”
For further information please contact Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, Unite regional officer on 07771 656692 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
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• 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.