Unite, the UK’s leading union, which represents 20,000 London bus workers, has warned that the option of industrial action is very much on the table in its campaign to prevent planned cuts to swathes of London’s bus network.

Transport for London (TfL) has announced a short six week consultation on its proposals to cut 16 London bus routes, around four per cent of the network.

Pay threat

Unite has called for guarantees that jobs will not be lost and take-home pay will not fall, or it will prepare for industrial action. London’s bus drivers fear a loss of the overtime and rest day working which is relied upon to boost earnings.

Unite says that the threatened four per cent reduction will see a loss equal to 800 driver roles.

On the table

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “These cuts are an attempt to make London’s bus workers pay the price for the pandemic and we reject them entirely. The option of Unite taking industrial action to protect our members is fully on the table.

“Bus cuts also always harm those who can least afford to lose the bus service, our poorest communities.  The mayor and the London Assembly must firmly reject TfL’s plans and stand up to the Westminster government.  

“Don’t cut workers’ jobs and pay, don’t cut communities off.  Instead, get on the side of working people and demand the funding needed to run a sustainable public transport system in London.”

Major upheaval

In addition, hundreds of drivers will be forced to change rosters and garages, heaping travel costs onto the workers and undermining family life.

The cuts are being made by TfL, in return for additional government funding to replace a shortfall in the organisation’s funding as a result of the decline in revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Bad news

Unite regional officer John Murphy said: “The planned cuts in London’s bus services are bad news for passengers, bad news for communities and bad news for workers.

 “Londoners should not be forced to pay for the pandemic by having their transport links, which are a lifeline for many, cut. Unite is committed to ensuring the threat to London’s bus routes is dropped.”

Major campaign

Unite has launched a major campaign to alert the travelling public to TfL’s plans, urging them to participate in the consultation, which closes on Tuesday 12 July, 2022, and get involved in the fight to ditch the planned cuts.

Unite believe that the planned cuts will have an adverse effect on passengers and local communities, resulting in: increased overcrowding, longer journeys, more changes, increased waiting at bus stops, greater congestion and increased pollution as car usage increases.

The union is calling on London Assembly members to reject the planned cuts and demand that central government properly fund the capital’s transport network.


Notes to editors:

Unite vows to defend jobs and pay as London bus services cut in funding row

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.