Unite urges Mayor to intervene to avoid London Olympic bus strike

Published on Thursday, 10 May 2012 10:39
Written by Scott Buckler

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.

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