Following six days of talks at conciliation service, Unite, bus operators and TfL have agreed proposal on bonus for 21,000 bus workers


Negotiators have reached a deal designed to settle the London bus workers dispute over bonus payments for the Olympics.

(Pictured: Unite members picket Tottenham bus garage, 22 June)

UnionNews understands the package will mean a bonus of well over £500 for each worker across the board.

Unite had been demanding £500 for each bus worker to cover the expected substantial increase in their workload during the games, when up to 800,000 extra passengers are expected to use the bus to travel across the capital.

The bus companies had wanted to offer larger bonuses to staff at busier garages. However, it is understood negotiators have secured a flat-rate figure for all members which they will put to a meeting of more than 80 reps later today.

A source told UnionNews: “We had been pushing hard to get a lump sum. We didn’t see why some bus workers should get more than others.”

Six days of talks at the conciliation service between Unite and representatives of 20 bus companies began with a proposal under which the capital-wide agency, Transport for London (TfL) would contribute a share of an estimated £1.4m profits it expects between July and September.

The Olympic Delivery Authority had already allocated £8.3m towards the bonus fund.

It is understood the proposal provides for a ‘by the day’ bonus payment which will cover at least 21 of the 29 days of the games and will mean each bus worker will receive more than £500.

Workers on the London buses are among the lowest paid in the capital’s transport sector, but were one of the only groups who had not secured an Olympic bonus.

John Woods, Acas deputy chief conciliator said last night:”Following six days of negotiations Acas talks between the London bus companies and Unite have reached a conclusion.

“An offer has been made, the details of which Unite will be reporting back to its representatives tomorrow [Tuesday]. The details of the offer remain confidential until this time.”

Unite officials expect to hold a conference of reps today, followed by a series of mass meetings at garages across London tomorrow and Thursday, followed by a ballot on whether to accept the Acas offer.

Following a 24-hour stoppage last month, Unite activists staged a series of unofficial protests at garages and depots across London which prevented buses from leaving and caused some disruption to services.

Further industrial action was suspended ahead of the Acas negotiations, which began last week.

However, activists had warned of escalating strikes ahead of and during the games if the dispute was not settled.

Unite is also currently re-balloting thousands of bus workers who were prevented by a High Court order from joining last month’s strike.

Most transport workers in London are already due to receive bonuses worth between £500 and £900 for the expected substantial increase in their workload during the period of the games.

Unite had estimated the cost of providing a £500 bonus to each London bus worker at £14m.

You can watch our film report on the dispute here:

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