London bus strike: The real reason your commute was rubbish this morning

A graph created by Unite claims to show the disparity between pay rates for different routes and companies

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The Independent Online

Several London bus routes are at a standstill today for a 24 hour strike over the alleged "continued refusal by London’s 18 bus operators" to enter into talks about workers’ pay, terms and conditions.

According to the workers union Unite, 27,000 bus workers are taking part in the strike.

They claim that there are 18 different companies that employ bus workers and 80 different hourly pay rates: in contrast to Tube drivers who have one collective pay deal.

Wayne King, London regional officer for Unite said: "Passengers pay one fare to travel on London’s iconic red buses, yet there are over 80 different pay rates covering bus workers, many doing the same job or driving the same route but for different rates of pay.

"The blame for the disruption that strike action will cause sits squarely with London’s bus companies. They have repeatedly ignored our offers for collective talks and need to get their heads out of the sand and start negotiating meaningfully about ending pay inequality on London’s buses."

A graph created by Unite claims to show the disparity between pay rates for different routes and companies. Examples include the 73 Arriva route which pays £9.30 per hour, and the 139 Metroline which pays over £3 more per hour at £12.34.

However a statement released by TFL cited "variations in the job" as a reason for disparities in pay.

It continued: "Driving a bus is different in inner London, with high density of customers and road users, than it is in some parts of suburban or semi rural greater London.

"As the bus companies are pointing out, having a system where all bus drivers are paid the same is impractical and innappropriate."

Last week it was revealed that the Conservative Party plan to introduce new rules that would mean transport workers would only be able to strike if a ballot was supported by 40 per cent of eligible union members.

Unions hit back at the proposals, which would make it much more difficult for strikes to be called. Currently a strike is valid if it achieves a simple majority.