Bus drivers accept Games cash offer


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The Independent Online

London bus workers have voted to accept an offer of an Olympics bonus, ending the threat of another strike.

The Unite union said workers will get £577 in recognition of the "massive increase" in workload over the Games.

Thousands of bus workers went on strike last month and were threatening further walkouts.

In workplace ballots held yesterday 71% voted to accept the offer.

The bus workers will get a payment of £27.50 each time they complete a duty over the 29 days of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The average number of duties workers will complete will be 21, meaning most workers will get a £577 award.

Peter Kavanagh, Unite's regional secretary for London, said: "After almost a year-long campaign, bus workers finally have a fair deal which recognises their contribution to keeping London moving over the Olympics.

"Major disruption to London's transport network and international embarrassment in the run-up to the Olympics could have been avoided if TfL (Transport for London) and the employers did the right thing when Unite first approached them almost a year ago. Instead, bus workers had to fight tooth and nail to get recognition.

"Strike action is always a last resort but for those who say it achieves nothing, we say just look at London's bus workers. They would have been offered nothing by their employers and TfL would have done nothing unless bus workers took action to force them round the negotiating table."

Transport for London's managing director of surface transport, Leon Daniels, welcomed the news, adding: "The pay of bus workers is, and will remain, a matter between them and the private bus operating companies that employ them.

"However, in this case, as the capital prepares to celebrate the biggest festival of sport and culture it has ever seen, TfL and the Mayor (Boris Johnson) sought to bring Unite and the bus companies together and we are pleased that they have now resolved this dispute."

Acas chief conciliator Peter Harwood said: "We are very pleased that the offer has been accepted by Unite union members. It's always encouraging when parties are committed to reaching a negotiated settlement.

"Both the employers and the trade union representatives worked very hard during long sessions at Acas to come to a resolution."

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "It is very good news that bus drivers have agreed this deal and put an end to the prospect of further strike action.

"I am pleased London's hard-working bus drivers will be able to play a full part in delivering what is set to be an incredible 2012 Games that will make London the envy of the world."