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10 May 2012
Unite has urged the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson to demand that London's bus operators end their silence and agree an Olympic payment for over 20,000 bus workers who are days away from voting on industrial action.
Unite has given seven days notice to 21 London bus operators of its intention to ballot bus workers for industrial action.
The failure of Boris Johnson to intervene and the bus operators' refusal to meet with Unite means strike action could take place up to and during the Olympic Games, if there is no resolution.
The union has called for a £500 payment to recognise the massive increase in workload as a result of the Olympics.The bus companies are the only London transport operators refusing to agree a payment for their workers (see notes to editors). At least 800,000 extra passengers are predicted to use London's iconic red buses during the Olympics. Plus, there will be a major increase in congestion.
Workers at London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railways (DLR), Network Rail and Virgin Rail will all receive a payment of at least £500.
Unite regional secretary for London, Peter Kavanagh said:
"Bus workers will be going above and beyond the call of duty to make the Olympics a success. They are the only London transport workers not getting an Olympic payment for their extra work. The first priority for London's re-elected Mayor must be to demand that bus operators agree a fair award for their workers during the Olympic games.
"If bus workers take strike action in the run up to and during the Olympics it will be because Boris Johnson and the bus companies failed in their duty to London.
"Boris Johnson has sat on his hands for almost a year while the bus operators have refused to even talk to Unite about their workers' extra contribution to the Olympics.
"The red London bus is an iconic symbol for this city. Bus workers deserve recognition for helping hundreds of thousands of extra passengers during the Olympics and dealing with major congestion on London's roads."
Boris Johnson has had since September 2011 to meet with Unite to discuss the vital role London's bus workers will play during the Olympics. With the Olympics only 79 days away, the Mayor needs to get a grip of the situation to prevent a strike. The union has written to Boris Johnson twice (see notes to editors) but he has washed his hands of responsibility, wrongly claiming that he and TfL could not get involved.
The union is balloting an estimated 21,000 bus workers
Workers at Network Rail will get £500, Docklands Light Railway staff will get £900, plus guaranteed overtime at enhanced rates and Virgin Rail has agreed a £500 Olympic payment. An offer of at least £600 has been accepted by workers at TfL's London Overground. London Undeground have also agreed to pay their staff an extra payment for the Olympics of at least £600. The deal is still under discussion.
The average salary of a London Bus driver is £28,600. A tube driver's average salary is £42,424
Date: 8 September 2011
Mr B Johnson
Mayor of London
Greater London Authority
11 The Queens Walk
London SE1 2AA
Dear Mayor Johnson
SPECIAL OLYMPIC PAYMENT FOR BUS WORKERS
Unite was encouraged earlier this year by the positive statements emanating from your office and from your Transport Commissioner about the special payments to be awarded to rail workers, working during the Olympic Games period. There were clear inferences that a similar principle could be accommodated for those working within the London Underground network. Such payments would, of course, be made in recognition of the increased work loads associated with the huge influx of additional passengers.
You have on occasions been a vocal supporter of London's bus drivers, arguing quite correctly, shortly after your election, that they are amongst “the world's finest”.
With this in mind, and with the indisputable fact that our members operating the capital's bus network will be critical to the success of the Olympics and Paralympics, Unite is seeking a bonus to recognise this.
You have felt it necessary during your term of office to make billions of pounds of cuts and savings to the Transport for London budget and in particular to the bus subsidy. This has, as I explained to you at our most recent SERTUC meeting, had a hugely damaging impact upon our members as operators squeeze pay, with minimal increases, pay freezes and now, increasingly, cuts to Terms and Conditions.
Operators across London are already indicating that there is little prospect of any exceptional payments for ensuring a successful Games and ensuring London copes with the anticipated additional 900,000 passengers on the busiest days during the period. Transport for London have issued a similar message.
We know that there will be hugely increased revenue generated from the hundreds of thousands of additional fare payers, a fact confirmed at a recent meeting between Transport for London and my London Bus Officers.
A positive intervention from your office would be to ensure sufficient funding is made available to the operators to support the payment that our members deserve, and most definitely will be expected to earn.
Such a move would not only recognise the contribution of bus workers during the Olympics and the role they play day in day out in keeping this city moving, but would also give some real meaning to your assertion that they are the “world's finest”.
I would be happy to meet with you or your Officers in an attempt to move this proposal forward and look forward to your early response.
Unite will ballot workers at the following London Bus operators.
Abellio South London
Abellio West London
Arriva Southern Counties
Arriva the Shires
Go Ahead $ Blue Triangle
Go Ahead $ Docklands
Go Ahead London Central
Go Ahead London General
London Sovereign Veolia Transdev
London United Limited
Metroline Travel Ltd
7 operators make up 95 per cent of London bus routes which include: Go Ahead, Arriva, Metroline, First, Abelio, Stage Coach and London United RATP.