London bus drivers on strike over controversial Olympic wages
Unite union members have made demands for a £500 premium for their labour during the Olympic Games, which will run from 27th July until 12th August. It was agreed that the 17 firms of the Unite are going on strike to represent the workforce’s 85%.
Regional secretary of Unite London, Peter Kavanagh, stated: “Support for today’s strike action is solid and shows that bus workers are willing to stand shoulder to shoulder to get the recognition they deserve in keeping London moving during the Olympics. Bus workers across the vast majority of London’s bus network will be on strike. This comes despite an injunction which was given without proper explanation.”
He went on to say: “We are fast becoming a country where justice rules in favour of big business and tramples on the rights of ordinary working men and women.”
“The strike should be a wake-up call to the bus companies and Transport for London. They now need to negotiate meaningfully about rewarding bus workers for massive increase in workload they will face over the Olympics,” he concluded.
London mayor Boris Johnson hoped that the strike could be prevented after announcing that £8.3 million was available for companies to pay bonuses, but talks at the conciliation ended without a settled agreement.
Johnson expressed: “I want the people of London, and our honest and hard-working bus drivers, to know that we’ve gone the extra mile, money is on the table, this offer is fair, but it is also conditional on drivers not taking strike action.”
“I am saddened, disappointed and enormously frustrated that despite brokering £8.3 million of funding, union leaders and the private bus companies have failed to reach agreement, and as a result it looks likely that Londoners will face unnecessary and needless disruption.”
The stoppage was a massive obstruction for commuters, as well as tourists that Transport for London (TfL) recommended to check for disruptions first before travelling.
TfL commissioner Peter Hendy had this to say: “The only conclusion to be drawn from this is that Unite leadership were never serious in wanting to settle for additional money for their bus drivers, and their strike is going ahead without their members having been asked whether or not they will accept any of the employers’ offers.”