Union says Mayor and TfL should “bang bus operators’ heads” together to resolve pay row

Unite bus strikeUnite has called on the Mayor of London to intervene in the capital’s bus strike that yesterday saw more than 20,000 workers take action.

Picket lines were in place across the city’s London’s 70 bus garages as staff working for 18 bus operators took part in a 24 hour strike to end unfair pay disparities across the capital’s bus network.

The union has urged TfL and the mayor of London to ‘bang the bus operators’ heads together’ to get them to sit down collectively with the union to resolve the dispute.

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: “TfL and the mayor need to take a look at the streets of London today and bang the bus operators’ heads together to end the pay inequality on London’s buses.

“Yesterday’s strike action was solidly supported and illustrates the depth of anger over the huge pay disparities among the people who keep London on the move 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Strike action is always the last resort, but the refusal of London’s bus operators to engage in collective talks caused yesterday’s disruption to the travelling public. Bus passengers pay the same fare, so why shouldn’t bus drivers be paid the same rate.

“The bus operators can well afford to tackle the pay inequality and we would urge them to collectively get around the table and start talking about a fair deal for London’s bus workers.”

Two thirds of London bus passengers think the capital’s bus drivers should be paid the same according to an independent survey.

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

In contrast to Tube drivers, there isn’t one collective pay deal for bus drivers in the capital, whose pay is negotiated on a company by company basis leading to pay inequality and disparities.

There are over 80 different pay rates covering London’s bus drivers, doing the same job, even driving the same route but for different rates of pay.

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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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