Unite warns it may call further strikes ‘up to and during the Olympic Games’, following 94% vote for industrial action

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Unite has announced that thousands of London bus workers will strike on Friday next week (22nd June), over the refusal of employers to offer a bonus to staff during the Olympic Games.

The union warns it may call further strikes ‘up to and during the Olympic Games’.

Unions say bus workers are the only transport workers who are not being awarded a bonus for what they say will be a ‘massive increase’ in workload during the period of the Olympics and Paralympic games from July until September.

It is estimated up to 800,000 extra passengers will travel on London buses during the games.

RMT is preparing an industrial action ballot in a separate Olympics bonus dispute with South West Trains.

Earlier this month, 20,000 members of Unite working for 20 London bus operators, including Go Ahead, Stagecoach, London United, Arriva, Metroline, First and Abellio backed strike action by an average of 94%.

Workers starting night shifts on Friday are also being called out, so the action is expected to continue into Saturday (23rd June).

The last London-wide bus strike took place in 1982.

Unite says government figures show that £476m remains in a contingency fund for the games and that the cost of a £500 bonus for all London bus workers would come to £14m.

It says Transport for London (TfL) currently has a budget surplus of £759 million.

Other transport workers across the capital are to receive bonuses worth between £500 and £900, with bonuses for BAA staff of up to £1,200.

Unite regional secretary for London, Peter Kavanagh, said: “London buses will come to a standstill for the first time in a generation across London on 22 June.

“The blame lies squarely with the bus operators and TfL.

“The bus companies haven’t met with Unite once to discuss bus workers’ extra contribution to the Olympic games and TfL has refused to intervene.

“This dispute could be resolved at a stroke,but if the bus companies and TfL continue to do nothing Unite will call further strikes up to and during the Olympic Games.”

The union says the average salary of a London bus driver is £28,600 while TfL’s managing director of surface transport, Leon Daniels, earns £234,906.


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