London bus strike off as talks over Olympic pay continue


A planned strike by London bus workers tomorrow in a row over an Olympic bonus has been suspended to allow further talks.

Members of the Unite union were planning to walk out tomorrow and again on July 24, a few days before the opening ceremony, over a claim for a £500 bonus for working during the Games.

Talks to try to resolve the row were held over the past two days at the conciliation service Acas.

Peter Harwood, Acas chief conciliator, said: "I am pleased to announce the suspension of both the pending court action and tomorrow's strike. Acas talks are continuing."

Some bus companies had taken legal action to halt strikes.

Transport for London earlier offered to share any additional revenue made during the Olympics with bus staff in a move to resolve the dispute.

TfL's managing director surface transport, Leon Daniels, said: "TfL does not directly employ London bus workers and this is therefore an issue for the bus operating companies and Unite to resolve through negotiation.

"However, in order to address the perception that TfL will be generating significant additional bus fare revenue from the Games, we have offered to share any additional revenue with bus staff.

"The offer of additional funds from the bus operating companies and a share of any additional bus fare revenue generated during the Games means there is no justification for further strike action.

"Should Unite insist that the total sum available is offered to all employees at bus operators across London, then this would mean a payment £583 for every employee of every bus company."

Mr Daniels added: "We welcome the news that the planned strike action on the bus network has now been suspended. Londoners will no doubt be relieved that the two parties - the bus operators and the union - will now be continuing their negotiations and that they will not face disruption tomorrow.

"The bus operators have offered additional funds on top of the £8.3m million brokered by the Mayor from the Olympic Delivery Authority. TfL has also offered to share with bus staff any additional bus fare revenue generated by the London 2012 Games. The suspension of strike action means there is now time for negotiation and serious consideration of this very fair offer, which the Unite leadership must now put to their members."