Action follows early-morning blockade of depots operated by companies who used injunction against strike last week over demand for £500 bonus. (Image © Guy Smallman)
After an early-morning blockade of major bus depots across London, activists in the Unite bus workers dispute over Olympic Games bonuses have taken their message to key foreign embassies (pictured © Guy Smallman).
The protesters have targeted both the French and German embassies because companies at the centre of the dispute – such as Arriva – have major French and German commercial connections.
Dozens of protesters have taken part in the demonstrations, which are designed to show the union’s disgust at the action by Arriva, Metroline and Go-ahead to take out a High Court injunction which prevented their 4,000 workers taking part in a strike last Friday.
Unite said it would appeal against the injunction.
It has also announced it and also intends to re-ballot members at the three companies from next week.
The ballot is due to finish on Tuesday 17 July.
The union has also warned of escalating industrial action and high-profile direct action if the bus operators refuse to take part in further talks to try to resolve the ten-month dispute over Olympics bonuses.
It has now called on Transport for London (TfL) and London bus operators to re-enter talks at the conciliation service, Acas.
Bus workers are the only transport workers in London who are not receiving an Olympic bonus with people working on the ‘Boris bike’ scheme becoming the latest group of workers to get a £500 bonus.
Unite London regional secretary, Peter Kavanagh said: “TfL and the bus operators need to get back around the table. Their refusal to meaningfully negotiate an Olympic award for keeping London moving during the Olympics is unjustifiable.
“Even the people who work on the Boris bikes have today been handed on a plate a bonus of £500, demonstrating further the contempt the Mayor holds for the 28,000 busworkers he once described as the “world’s finest”.
“This is a straightforward industrial issue about fairness and recognition. It is now looking more and more like a coordinated attack by the Tory Mayor, supported by a party looking for a political fight with Unite and London’s bus workers.
“TfL and the bus companies should be under no illusion about our resolve. We are re-balloting our members in the three bus companies who were stopped by the courts from exercising their democratic rights last Friday.
“This will mean that future strike action will be bigger and involve more bus workers.
“TfL and the bus operators need to take their heads out of the sand and recognise the massive increase in work that bus workers will face during the games.”
You can watch our film report on last week’s strike here:
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