Fresh transport disruption expected as London bus controllers take further strike action

19 September 2017

Fresh transport disruption expected as London bus controllers take further strike action

19 September 2017

The streets of London are facing disruption this Friday (22 September) as London’s bus controllers take further industrial action in a dispute over pay, Unite, the UK’s largest union has warned.

Over 400 Unite members employed by Transport for London (TfL) in the CentreComm control centre – as bus station controllers, network traffic controllers, infrastructure controllers, revenue protection inspectors and road transport enforcement officers – will stage a 24 hour strike beginning at 00.01 on Friday 22 September.

The workers are striking due to the failure of TfL to offer the workers a decent pay rise. TfL had initially offered the workforce a £250 (£4.80 a week) non-consolidated increase and even following peace talks at the conciliation service Acas the organisation was only prepared to improve the offer to a non-consolidated increase of £350 (£6.73 a week). The pay offer is the worst of all TfL workers.

Although bus drivers are not involved in the dispute they are directly affected. The drivers rely on support and advice from CentreComm staff during potential emergencies and as a result of traffic problems.

Initial strikes were held for 48 hours over the August bank holiday weekend where widespread disruption occurred. Although TFL management said that CentreComm would be fully staffed this was not the case. Bus drivers were informed not to make ‘code blue’ calls (traffic light failures, traffic delays, fare disputes, vehicles blocking roads).

Although CentreComm was supposedly dealing with ‘code red’ calls (emergencies involving violence and fatalities), Unite was informed that several of these calls were ignored and bus drivers or members of the public were forced to call 999 instead.

Last ditch talks are planned for Acas tomorrow (Wednesday 20 September) but unless there is an improved offer, Friday’s strike will go ahead.

Unite regional officer Hugh Roberts said: “Our members undertake highly responsible work and they are not going to accept an offer which amounts to a one off bung and means that their pay and pensions are being cut in real terms.

“TfL management needs to put forward a realistic offer which takes into account the concerns and the efforts of our members.

“The strike will undoubtedly be disruptive to London commuters but this action is a direct result of TfL repeatedly failing to come forward with a fair deal for our members.”

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