London bus drivers willing to take strike action to end pay disparities, warns Unite

4 November 2014

Nearly 100 per cent of bus drivers across London’s 17 bus operators have said they are willing to take strike action to end ‘glaringly unfair’ pay disparities across the capital’s buses in a campaign to secure one London wide agreement covering pay, terms and conditions.

The consultative ballot run by their union, Unite, saw 96 per cent vote in favour of action as frustration mounts over the ‘farce’ of 17 separate pay negotiations.

In contrast to tube drivers, there is no one collective pay deal for bus drivers in the capital whose pay is negotiated on a company by company basis leading to pay inequality and pay gaps of over £2 an hour for new starters. Starting rates for drivers vary from £9.30 to £11.46 an hour depending on the bus company.

The consultative ballot paves the way for a formal industrial action ballot of London’s bus drivers if the Capital’s bus operators continue with their refusal to establish a collective negotiating forum that covers the pay and conditions for all London’s bus drivers.

Commenting, Wayne King London regional officer for Unite said: “The patience of London bus drivers is wearing thin. Rather than their pay and conditions being covered by one single agreement, we have the farce of 17 different sets of negotiations.

“It not only breeds pay inequality, but is bureaucratic and inefficient and has led to pay gaps opening up between bus drivers working for different companies as well as those driving the same routes for the same operator.

“London’s bus drivers keep the capital moving and deserve a fair deal. It’s time that London’s bus operators dropped their opposition to a collective negotiating forum that begins to harmonise the terms and conditions of the capital’s bus drivers.”

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