London bus drivers strike for equal pay
London transport has faced major disruptions today after strikes across 18 bus companies left only 33 per cent of London’s 7,500 buses running, according to Transport for London (TFL).
The strikes came as Unite union called for a single agreement covering pay and conditions for bus drivers.
Unite claims that that there are as many as 80 different pay rates for drivers doing the same job, with wages being worked out on a company-by-company basis. As a result, wages for the same job can differ by over £3 an hour.
Some of the companies involved in the strike included Arriva North and South, Stagecoach and Metroline.
TFL claims that fewer than 16 per cent of London bus drivers voted for the strike action. Unite denied these claims and counted 20,000 of their members among the strikers.
Starting at 00:01GMT, the strikes have caused “significant disruption” throughout the day and continued to affect commuters into the evening rush hour.
According to the Telegraph, 2,156 congestion hotspots were recorded at 8.30am this morning, along with 1,282 miles of tailback in Greater London.
TFL’s director of buses Mike Weston commented: “I am very sorry that the leadership of Unite have chosen to disrupt the journey of bus passengers. As in all professions, bus drivers have different skills and experience and it is only right that this can be reflected in pay.”
Speaking to the Evening Standard the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, claimed: “Driving a bus in the leafy suburbs is very different from other congested routes. For 23 years at least they have had different pay and conditions. It’s a matter for the bus companies.”
Service is not expected to return to normal until tomorrow, with night bus services running from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning expected to be affected.