Hammersmith & FulhamNews

Hundreds of bus drivers set to strike in West London

More than 350 West London bus drivers and engineers will begin six days of strike action over pay on Friday.

Unite union announced yesterday the workers, who are employed by London Transit, which is owned by French-company RATP, are striking after they rejected a 6.8 per cent pay offer.

The union called it a “significant real terms pay cut”, as the rate of inflation stood at 11.4 per cent when the pay increase was supposed to be applied in April.

The dispute is also over the company’s attempt to reduce terms and conditions, including removing a longstanding £500 meal relief payment and attacking arrangements for a how workers take days off in lieu.

Increasing bad feeling at the company, is the fact that it takes workers seven years to reach the full rate of pay, even though at most other bus companies it only takes three years of service.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “RATP is a massive multinational company. It can absolutely afford to table an acceptable pay increase and does not to need to attack workers’ terms and conditions.

“Unite is totally focused on defending and improving our members’ jobs, pay and conditions. The workers at RATP have their union’s total backing during these strikes.”

The workers are based at the Westbourne Park Garage and the strikes will impact the 13, 23, 28, 218, 295, 414, 452 and N28 routes.

Strikes will take place on November 10 and 13, and December 1, 4, 22 and 23. Unite said the industrial action will escalate if the dispute is not resolved.

Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy said: “Strike action will inevitably cause disruption to passengers but this is entirely the fault of London Transit and RATP’s management. They have had every opportunity to resolve this dispute but have failed to do so.”

A spokesman for London Transit said: “We are disappointed at the ballot result and the decision to proceed with industrial action. Strikes will cause inconvenience to the public and further loss of earnings for our hard-working employees.

“We have made a competitive and fair offer, worth 8.3% in total, aligned to our commitment to protect drivers and engineers from inflation and reward their efforts. 

“While union representatives declined our most recent offer to continue discussions on this year’s pay round, we remain ready to engage at any point. We very much hope that they will meet us and that strikes can be averted.”

(Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Editor5807)

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