UPDATE: TFL have stated on their website that the planned strikes which were to take place on the 13th and the 16th of February have now been postphoned.
Unite members voted for another strike which will affect the majority of London Transports Bus services. The planned strikes will be taking place on 5th February, 13th February and 16th February 2015.
TFL have issued this press release:
Transport for London (TfL) is advising bus passengers to check the TfL website for the latest information ahead of planned strike action by members of the Unite union, who work for London's bus companies, which is due to affect bus services on Thursday 5 February.
The strike - the result of a dispute between Unite and the bus companies over driver pay and conditions - will affect services from around 4am on Thursday 5 February and also night bus services operating on the Thursday night into Friday morning. Bus services during the day on Friday 6 February should operate as normal.
All of TfL's other public transport services will be operating as normal should the planned action go ahead.
Mike Weston, TfL's Director of Buses, said: `I am very sorry that the leadership of Unite are threatening to further disrupt the journeys of bus passengers, especially given that only 16 per cent of bus drivers voted for strike action.
`As the bus companies who employ the drivers have said, it makes no sense to pay all drivers precisely the same amount. As in all professions, bus drivers have different levels of experience and it is only right that this can be reflected in pay. A 'levelling up' of pay to the highest rates would cost around £100 million a year and would result in a cut to bus services, an increase in fares, or both.
`The strike is likely to mean significant disruption to bus services and I urge customers to please check our website for the latest news. We'll be getting up-to-date information to customers as quickly as possible to ensure that they can continue to get around the city.`
The Trade Union 'Unite' have also issued the following press release regarding the planned bus strikes:
Britain’s largest union, Unite urged London’s 18 bus operators to enter into collective talks to avoid the disruption of further strike action as it announced three 24 hour London-wide bus strikes today (Wednesday 28 January).
The latest stoppages running from 00:01 to 23:59 hours on Thursday 5 February, Friday 13 February and Monday 16 February follow a continued refusal by London’s bus operators to enter into collective talks over ending unfair pay disparities.
A 24 hour London-wide bus strike earlier in January saw bus services across the capital brought to a standstill as over 20,000 bus workers walked out as part of a campaign to secure one collective forum to discuss agreement for pay and conditions for London’s bus workers.
Commenting Unite regional officer Wayne King said: “We have been working tirelessly in our efforts to bring the employers to the table to discuss a solution to this dispute.
"We firmly believe that there is a simple solution to be had but sadly the refusal by the operators to engage in collective talks is risking the inevitable disruption that strike action will bring to passengers.
“The travelling public understand that further strike action is the last resort and can be avoided if the operators agree to talk collectively about the pay chaos on London’s buses.
“Bus passengers pay one fare, so why don’t bus drivers get paid the same rate for doing the same job?
“We urge London’s bus operators to see sense and collectively engage in talks to give London’s bus workers a fair deal.”
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. Drivers’ pay can differ by £3 per hour, from £9.30 to £12.34.
Unite represents over 27,000 bus workers working for 18 bus companies who serve Greater London. These are: Arriva North, Arriva South, Selkent, London General, Metroline, Metroline West, Metrobus, CT Plus, London United, Abellio South, Abellio West, London Sovereign, Stagecoach, Blue Triangle, Northumberland Park, Tower Transit, Docklands and London Central.
My answer to the issue is:
Since the London Bus services had been fully privatised since 1994 to private tender, the fraction of the money have to go towards profits for the operating companies. But the major companies like Go Ahead, Arriva and Stagecoach earn millions in profits for operating services around Britain all because of deregulation since 1986. Thankfully London Bus services never been deregulated but have been privatised to enable competitive tender. More on the history can be seen here.
TFL have published a list of bus routes which are unaffected by the strike because those garages are not part of the Union.
Below is the list of unaffected bus routes:
· 66 - Romford Station to Leytonstone bus station
· 142 - Watford Junction to Brent Cross Shopping Centre
· 160 - Catford to Sidcup Station
· 258 - Watford Junction to South Harrow Station
· 268 - Golders Green Station to Finchley Road
· 288 - Queensbury to Broadfields Estate
· 298 - Arnos Grove to Potters Bar
· 303 - Edgware Station to Colindale
· 305 - Edgware Station to Kingsbury Circle
· 340 - Edgware Station to Harrow Bus Station
· 346 - Upminster Station to Upminster Park Estate
· 370 - Romford to Lakeside Shopping Centre
· 375 - Romford Station to Passingford Bridge
· 404 - Coulsdon to Caterham-on-the-Hill
· 406 - Kingston to Epsom
· 411 - Kingston to West Molsey
· 418 - Kingston to Epsom
· 428 - Erith to Bluewater Shopping Centre
· 463 - Coulsdon South Station to Pollards Hill
· 465 - Kingston to Dorking
· 467 - Hook to Epsom
· 470 - Colliers Wood Station to Epsom
· 492 - Sidcup Station to Bluewater Shopping Centre
· 499 - Gallows Corner to Heath Park Estate
· 626 - Finchley Central Station to Potters Bar
· 628 - Kingsbury to Southgate Station
· 631 - Golders Green Station to Henrietta Barnett School
· 641 - West Molesey to Teddington School
· 642 - West Hendon Broadway/Edgware Station to London Academy
· 653 - Muswell Hill Broadway to Kingsbury
· 683 - Friern Barnet to Kingsbury
· 688 - Southgate Station to Kingsbury
· B12 - Erith to Joydens Wood
· B13 - Bexleyheath Shopping Centre to New Eltham Station
· B15 - Bexleyheath Shopping Centre to Horn Park
· E10 - Northolt to Ealing Broadway Station
· H2 - Golders Green Station circular (via Hampstead Garden Suburb)
· H3 - Golders Green Station to East Finchley, Hilltop
· H18 - Harrow Bus Station circular (via Pinner & Wealdstone)
· H19 - Harrow Bus Station circular (via Wealdstone & Pinner)
· K5 - Ham to Morden Station
· S1 - Banstead to Lavender Fields
· S3 - Sutton Hospital to Malden Manor Station
· X26 - West Croydon to Heathrow Airport
Limited services will be available on the affected routes so I would advise you to read the advice on the Bus Strike article to find out which buses are currently running on your route.
Also, I have recently written about the New Routemaster project which is going to cost TFL up to £300 million for 800 New Routemaster vehicles. The original plan was to have 600 but it has risen to 800 as TFL have stated in their board papers - “However, given the popularity of NRMs with passengers and their impact in driving up overall customer satisfaction and brand momentum for buses, it is considered that this is a worthwhile investment.”
Let me know what you think of the strike and the New Routemaster project by leaving a comment under my article.
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