Unite the union has ordered a London-wide bus strike to take place today (Friday), with the warning of more to follow in the run-up to and during the Olympics, after talks to negotiate an Olympic bonus for bus drivers failed to succeed.
Every other transport provider in the capital will receive an Olympic bonus of at least £500 as a gesture recognising the increasing work and stress load during the busy Olympic period. Heathrow Express workers will receive £700, for Network Rail it is £500, Docklands Light Railway staff have been awarded £900, with London Underground receiving at least £850 and BAA staff up to £1,200. London's bus drivers are asking for the lowest rate of £500, yet have said that if concessions are still not made, their demands will increase.
Causing further tensions is the revelation that the top seven TfL executives are in line to cash in on two years of annual bonuses worth £560,000 which equates to £80,000 each if the system runs smoothly during the Olympic Games.
Ahead of the strike, Unite’s regional secretary for London, Peter Kavanagh, said:
Operators Arriva, Metroline and Go Ahead have applied to the High Court for an injunction to block the strike. Talks, urged by London Mayor Boris Johnson, between the unions and employers failed.
TfL have released the following advice for London travel today:
- London Buses staff and volunteers from across TfL will be on the streets and at key transport hubs across London to provide travel advice and distribute walking maps.
- TfL will operate a full service across the Tube network, with extra staff on hand to assist passengers.
- Full services will also be operated on the Docklands Light Railway, London Tramlink and London Overground networks with additional staff deployed to assist passengers.
- Marshalled taxi ranks will operate at a number of key rail hubs including Victoria, St Pancras, Waterloo, Liverpool Street and London Bridge.
- A full service will also be operated by London River Services, which includes River Bus services that operate high frequency services between various key piers.
- During the course of the strike bus passes will be accepted on reasonable alternative routes on Tube, DLR, and London Overground – affected passengers should seek assistance from staff at the gate lines.
- TfL has also emailed around 1.5 million registered bus users advising them of the likely disruption and urging them to check before they travel.
- Additional distribution staff will work throughout Friday to ensure Cycle Hire Scheme docking stations are able to meet demand at key locations.