London bus strikes blamed on French board’s stubbornness
- Thursday 22 April 2021
Passengers across London and in particular in the South and West of the capital should be braced for fresh disruption over the coming days as bus drivers take further strike action over pay.
Strikes involving bus drivers employed by London United will take place on Friday 23 April and Monday 26 April. Further strike action is also scheduled for Friday 7 May and Saturday 8 May.
London United is a subsidiary of the French owned company RATP.
No realistic offer
The dispute is a result of RATP’s failure to make a realistic offer to resolve outstanding pay claims that now date back several years.
Peace talks at the conciliation service Acas collapsed earlier this week as RATP refused to make a realistic offer to resolve the dispute.
Chief Executive pay surge
The drivers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, are particularly incensed that RATP’s French board is only prepared to offer a pay increase of less than one per cent for 2019, when in the same year Catherine Chardon the chief executive of the London based operation and who leads the negotiations, saw her pay increase by 54 per cent from £196,000 to £363,000.
In 2019 RATP recorded a turnover of over 5 billion euros and it is a highly lucrative company.
There are seven London United bus garages taking part in the strike action: Fulwell, Hounslow, Hounslow Heath, Park Royal, Shepherd’s Bush. Stamford Brook and Tolworth.
Unite officer Michelle Braveboy said: “Passengers in London are facing more disruption over the coming days due to the stubbornness of RATP’s French board.
“The London United bus drivers have not received a pay rise for three years but have continued to keep London moving during three lockdowns, risking their health to do so.
“The pay offer for 2019 is frankly pathetic and amounts to a wage cut in real terms for the company’s bus drivers. They are rightly angry that the company awarded Catherine Chardon a 54 per cent pay increase but can find less than one per cent for them.
“Since the beginning of this dispute Unite has always believed that strikes could be avoided if the company was prepared to enter into meaningful negotiations. Unite’s views haven’t changed but the stance of the French board needs to change dramatically to prevent further disruption to passenger journeys in the future.”
Notes to editors:
For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.