|24 Hour Bus Strike Underway on Tuesday|
"Significant disruption" with around 30% of services running
Transport for London says around 30% of buses are running on Tuesday as a 24 hours strike gets underway, and advises passengers to check services on its website before travelling.
TfL says customers with a Bus & Tram Pass season ticket can use it on the Underground, DLR, London Overground and London Tramlink and urges passengers to use other transport services, walk or cycle where possible.
It has affected services from around 4am and will continue throughout the day and into tonight, affecting night bus services operating on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
TfL says buses should operate as normal tomorrow.
Customers will be kept informed throughout the day through regular website updates and the usual electronic signs at around 2,500 bus stops.
The 24 hour stoppage follows the continued refusal by London’s 18 bus operators to enter into talks about a single London wide agreement covering bus workers’ pay, terms and conditions.
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 more than 80 different pay rates in operation, says the Unite union.
Commenting, Wayne King London regional officer for Unite says: " Passengers pay one fare to travel on London’s iconic red buses, yet there are over 80 different pay rates covering bus workers, many doing the same job or driving the same route but for different rates of pay.
" Strike action is not a step our members take lightly, but bus workers who keep London moving 24 hours a day, seven days a week, have had enough of pay inequality and unfair pay disparities.
" The blame for the disruption that strike action will cause sits squarely with London’s bus companies. They have repeatedly ignored our offers for collective talks and need to get their heads out of the sand and start negotiating meaningfully about ending pay inequality on London’s buses."
The bus companies involved in the dispute 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.
Mike Weston, TfL's Director of Buses, says: "I am very sorry that the leadership of Unite have chosen to disrupt the journeys of bus passengers, especially given that only 16 per cent of the 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 skills and experience and it is only right that this can be reflected in pay. If all drivers are paid the average then by definition half of all bus drivers will need to take a pay cut. Any 'levelling up' of pay to the highest rates would lead to a cut in bus services, an increase in fares, or both.
"London has one of the best and most extensive bus networks anywhere in the world. It would be much better if the leadership of Unite actually worked with the bus companies to ensure that it remains that way rather than disrupting bus passengers."