As many as 27,000 Unite members on strike today over pay

Unite bus strikeTwo thirds of London bus passengers back today’s strike, according to an independent survey.

The survey of 1,645 passengers by Mass1 gives Unite public backing to its bus workers’ campaign to end unfair pay disparities and secure one agreement for pay and conditions across London’s 18 bus operators.

As many as 27,000 London bus workers are today on strike because they think it is unfair there are more than 80 different pay rates covering London’s bus drivers, doing the same job, even driving the same route but for different rates of pay.

It comes as an analysis of the latest accounts for the capital’s bus operators shows the companies making combined profits of £171.7 million, with directors’ pay totalling at least £7.24 million a year.

At the same time, Unite claims a refusal by the operators to address pay inequality has led to pay gaps of over £3 an hour for new starters opening up, with pay varying from £9.30 to £12.34 an hour depending on the company.

Unite regional officer Wayne King said: “London’s bus operators have raked in millions in profits while driving down pay and refusing to tackle pay inequality on the capital’s buses.

“As bus company directors enjoy lottery style salaries, bus drivers doing the same job on the same route are being pitted against one another on different rates of pay.

“Strike action is the last resort. We’ve been forced into this position by the operators’ refusal to even meet with us. Passengers sitting side by side on the same route expect to pay the same fare, so why shouldn’t drivers expect to be paid the same rate?

“The bus operators need to stop pleading poverty in defending pay inequality and collectively start negotiating about a fairer deal for London’s bus workers.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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