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Transport unions in London have announced three days of strikes in separate disputes over Olympics bonus payments.

The RMT says staff at Transport for London [TfL] will walk out for 24 hours from Sunday evening, while Unite has called two further 24 hour strikes in its dispute with bus operators in the capital, on Thursday 5 July and Tuesday 24 July.

Sunday’s action at TfL follows what RMT officials say is an ‘abject failure’ by the agency to offer travel information staff and call centre workers any Olympic bonus at a time when managers are attempting to impose changes to working conditions and a unilateral ban on annual leave in some departments.

The union says TfL has turned down a request to go to the conciliation service to try to prevent Sunday’s strike.

Unions say the latest TfL accounts for the financial year 2011/12 show a budget surplus of £759m, while new government figures show the London Olympics is set to come in under its £9.3m budget with £476m of contingency funding remaining.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The rank hypocrisy of TfL managers, who stand to hit the bonus jackpot during the Olympics while offering their own directly employed staff nothing, stinks and the refusal to even go to Acas is an act of sheer contempt.

“These TfL staff will be as busy as anybody else and the attempt to bullying them into bans on annual leave and unilateral changes to working conditions for nothing in return is a disgrace.

“RMT remains available for talks and with Boris Johnson directly intervening in the bus dispute there is no excuse for him, as chair of TfL, not to get involved in settling this issue.”

Meanwhile, Unite says its action by thousands of bus workers on 24 July could lead to a ‘total standstill’ of bus services just three days before the games are due to begin.

It is currently re-balloting some 4,000 members at the three companies which last Thursday secured a High Court injunction preventing them from joining the strike by bus workers the following day.

If the ballot returns a majority in favour of strike action, those members could take part in the 24 July walkout.

Unite accuses the bus operators of ‘brinkmanship’, pushing action closer towards the Games.

It has called on the 21 bus operators to join it for Acas talks on Monday.

Unite regional secretary, Peter Kavanagh, said: “This dispute could be resolved at a stroke if the operators negotiate meaningfully.

“Instead, it looks like a coordinated attack, orchestrated by the Tory mayor, looking for a political fight with Unite and London’s bus workers. Even ‘Boris bike’ workers are getting a £500 Olympic award.

“There is no justification to ignoring the massive increase in workload bus workers face. They will be on the frontline, keeping London moving during the Games.

“Last week’s action was extremely well supported and workers are getting angrier by the day – there will be no retreat.”

Unite has estimated it will cost £14m to fund a bonus payment of £500 for every bus worker in the capital.

Other London transport workers – such as on the underground, Docklands Light Railway and some network rail services – are to receive bonuses of between £500 and £900 in recognition of the expected extra workload during the period of the games.

You can watch our film report of last Friday’s strike here:

 


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