Bus drivers strike over fears of losing £2,000 from salaries

By Owen Sheppard, local democracy reporter

Bus drivers are staging another walkout today in an “increasingly bitter” dispute about cuts to their pay.

Their strike will affect 52 routes across West and South West London before officially ending at 6am on Thursday, April 8.

The drivers are employed by operator London United, contracted by Transport for London (TfL).

A further strike is scheduled for April 15.

Represented by the Unite trade union, they have held strikes on eight separate days this year after the company revealed proposed changes to their conditions.

Drivers fear losing £2,000 a year due to changes that would see them no longer receive pay for breaks or time spent waiting for their bus to arrive. Instead, they would only be paid for time spent “logged in” to their vehicles.

RATP, the French company that owns London United and two other operators in the capital, said: “Despite the significant financial challenges, RATP has made several different pay offers, which Unite representatives either rejected or deferred presenting to the staff.

“[Our] offer includes a fair pay rise above the consumer price index, and no changes to terms and conditions.

“Several weeks ago, we agreed that terms and conditions would not change. Any information to the contrary is categorically wrong.”

Drivers involved in tomorrow’s strike are based at garages in Fulwell, Park Royal, Shepherd’s Bush, Tolworth, Stamford Brook, Hounslow and Hounslow Heath.

A Unite statement said: “The increasingly bitter dispute, involving London United, a subsidiary of the French owned company RATP, is set to intensify, after bus drivers at two more garages voted to join the industrial action over pay and attacks on conditions.”

Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy said: “The drivers who have been considered key workers throughout the dispute are rightly asking how on earth RATP believes it is acceptable to cut drivers’ pay in real terms and undermine their conditions, when they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep London moving.”

A statement from TfL said: “We are urging both RATP and Unite the Union to use their ongoing talks to resolve the issue as soon as possible…

“TfL is doing all it can to minimise the disruption, including contacting all registered customers of the affected routes. Countdown signs and posters at bus stops and in stations will also warn of potential disruption.”

The following bus routes will be affected:

24 hour routes:

148, 220, 281, 111, 85, 94

School and night routes:

N18, N33, N65, N72, N266, 613, 662, 665, 671, 681, 696, 697

Day routes:

H98, K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, S3, H22, H32, H37, 283, 371, 406, 411, 418, 419, 423, 440, 465, C1, 216, 223, 224, 265, 266, 33, 65, 70, 71, 72, 110, 111, 116, 203



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