Two London bus strikes cancelled by union to allow negotiations over pay and working hours

Unite the Union said they have 'laid down the gauntlet'

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The Independent Online

Two 24-hour bus strikes that were planned to disrupt the whole of London during the next week have been postponed.

Unite the Union have “laid down the gauntlet” by cancelling strikes scheduled for Friday 13 and Monday 16 February to enable talks to go ahead with the 18 operators of buses in the capital over pay and working conditions, a spokesman said.

 

Unite regional officer Wayne King said: “We call on the capital’s bus operators to seize this window of opportunity and join us collectively in talks at Acas. There can be no excuses for them not to.

“We’ve postponed the two days of strike action in an act of goodwill and we are not asking them to break competition law by meeting us collectively. The ball is firmly in the court of London’s bus companies.”

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A tranquil Oxford Street during January's bus strike. Picture: Lee Taylor

Unlike Tube drivers, bus drivers are not always paid the same wage as each other even if they operate on the same route and with the same company.

Starting pay varies from £9.30 to £12.34 an hour depending on the bus operator the driver works for, Unite the Union says.

A chart was issued by Unite to illustrate the discrepancies in pay and that some drivers get as much as £3 less an hour than their colleagues.

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Unite issued chart to help passengers understand why workers strike

Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “We welcome the postponement of the strikes and are delighted that bus passengers will not be further inconvenienced.  We continue to urge Unite and the bus companies to meet individually to resolve their differences.”

A legally-binding neutrality statement has been sent to Transport for London by Unite to demand that the government body does not interfere with negotiations between the bus operators and the union.

The document – which needs to be signed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the TfL chairman and board members – has yet to be returned, a Unite spokesman told The Independent.

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