Thursday, 24 July 2008

London bus workers take action over pay and conditions

From Unite website

London's bus workers, members of Unite the union, will today (Thursday 24th July) march on City Hall to demand a single rate of pay across all bus companies that operate within the capital.

In a recent ballot of Unite's 28,000 busworkers 99 percent voted yes to the proposed single rate of pay across the network.

Unite is calling for a single rate of pay for drivers of £30,000 a year, based on a 38 hour week. Currently the eighteen London bus companies all operate with different pay structures, with pay inequalities of up to £6,000 a year.

There is a startling disparity between bus drivers' pay in the capital, with rosters in some companies seeing many drivers complete nearly 60 hours per week.

Driving on London's roads is a potentially hazardous job, and as a result Unite is calling for standard rosters, scheduling and pay rates that will remove this culture of excessive working hours on London's bus routes.

Peter Kavanagh, Unite senior regional industrial organiser said: "If the tendering system Transport for London (TfL) and the employers insist on continuing with their 'Race to the Bottom', our members will be taking part in a race of their own - a race to the picket lines!"

Employers are also threatening to introduce lower rates of pay for new employees and even to set up new 'low cost' operations as sub-divisions, with inferior terms and conditions, in their frenzy to win or retain contracts for certain routes.

Steve Hart, London regional secretary for Unite said: "Boris Johnson recently described London's bus drivers as the 'World's finest'. If he really believes this then he needs to act quickly to end the huge disparities in pay across London's bus networks. Unite has written to the mayor inviting him to comment on our campaign for equal pay for his drivers."


For further information contact: Jody Whitehill, Unite Press Officer on 020 7420 8938 or 07768 693956

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