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Unite warns London’s travelling public face safety and...

Unite warns London’s travelling public face safety and welfare challenges as TfL fails to plan for bank holiday strikes

25 August 2017

A failure by Transport for London (TfL) to put an effective contingency plan in place, when support staff take 48 hours strike action from 00:01hrs on Sunday 27 August, will create safety and welfare issues for drivers and passengers  alike warned Britain’s largest union, Unite today (Friday 25 August).

Over 400 Unite members employed by TfL in the CentreComm control centre, as bus station controllers, network traffic controllers, infrastructure controllers, revenue protection inspectors and road transport enforcement officers are taking strike action in a dispute over pay.

Although London’s bus drivers are not part of the dispute they are directly affected. The drivers are required to give priority to the travelling public’s safety and comfort. It is impossible to follow this requirement without clear support from the TfL staff who will be on strike.

Unite believes that the staff who will be covering the roles of the CentreComm staff during the dispute are not familiar with the London network or how to manage London’s bus network, during a security critical period. Their role is particularly important this bank holiday weekend, one of the busiest time for the travelling public, as the Notting Hill Carnival and the SW4 festival on Clapham Common are taking place and much of London’s rail network is closed for maintenance work.

Of a further concern is that CentreComm staff are responsible for ensuring that welfare facilities for drivers (toilets and rest rooms) are open and operational. If these facilities are not available then drivers will be forced to return to depots, causing cancellations and severe delays.

The workers are striking because Transport for London (TfL) had initially offered a two year pay offer of a £250 non-consolidated payment in each year, which amounts to just £4.80 per week. Following last ditch peace talks on Tuesday (August 22) TfL were only prepared to improve the offer to a non-consolidated payment of £350 for each year, (£6.73 a week).

Unite regional officer, John Murphy, said: “It has become clear that TfL do not have anything like an adequate contingency plan to cope with the strike action. This lack of planning threatens the well-being of bus drivers and passengers alike

“The staff being required to cover for the CentreComm workers do not have anything like the necessary knowledge and experience to cope with what will be a very challenging weekend.

“It is totally unacceptable to expect bus drivers to perform their duties without ensuring that suitable welfare facilities and operational support networks are in place.

“TfL’s failure to develop a suitable alternative strategy underlines once again the reason why they should have been prepared to award the CentreComm staff an increase in line with what other workers in the organisation have received.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

  • 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.