Passengers back London’s bus drivers on eve of London-wide bus strike

12 January 2015

From Unite: Two thirds of London bus passengers think the capital’s bus drivers should be paid the same according to an independent survey released ahead of tomorrow’s (Tuesday 13 January) London-wide bus strike.

The survey of 1,645 passengers by Mass1 for Britain’s largest union, gives Unite public backing to the bus workers’ campaign to end unfair pay disparities and secure one agreement for pay and conditions across London’s 18 bus operators.

It comes as an analysis of the latest accounts for the capital’s bus operators shows the companies making combined profits of £171.7 million, with directors’ pay totalling at least £7.24 million a year.

At the same time, Unite claims a refusal by the operators to address pay inequality has led to pay gaps of over £3 an hour for new starters opening up, with pay varying from £9.30 to £12.34 an hour depending on the company.

Commenting, Wayne King London regional officer for Unite, said: “London’s bus operators have raked in millions in profits while driving down pay and refusing to tackle pay inequality on the capital’s buses.

“As bus company directors enjoy lottery style salaries, bus drivers doing the same job on the same route are being pitted against one another on different rates of pay.

“Strike action is the last resort. We’ve been forced into this position by the operators’ refusal to even meet with us. Passengers sitting side by side on the same route expect to pay the same fare, so why shouldn’t drivers expect to be paid the same rate?

“The bus operators need to stop pleading poverty in defending pay inequality and collectively start negotiating about a fairer deal for London’s bus workers.”

In contrast to tube drivers, there isn’t 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 disparities.

There are over 80 different pay rates covering London’s bus drivers, doing the same job, even driving the same route but for different rates of pay.

1,645 bus passengers were asked by the independent social survey company Mass1 “Do you think all bus drivers should be paid the same?” across London (see notes). 66 per cent responded yes and 34 per cent no.

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