Bus Strikes Planned for Three Consecutive Wednesdays

Talks fail to resolve dispute between drivers and operating companies

London bus drivers from Harrow Garage on strike
London bus drivers from Harrow Garage on strike

There are more bus strikes planned on Wednesday 17, Wednesday 24 and Wednesday 31 March.

If the strikes are likely to affect around 80 bus services, including some school and night routes.

The drivers are employees of RATP Dev London which oversees London United, Quality Line and London Sovereign. Members of the Unite union are taking industrial action over separate disputes at the three companies. At London Sovereign the issue is about pay in which an offer was made to drivers well below that given to employees of other firms.

The London United dispute over what Unite claims is the company seeking to use the Covid-19 pandemic as cover to slash the pay and conditions of drivers. It says drivers face cuts in pay of £2,500 per annum, reducing pay to 2015 rates, with workers expected to work far longer for the lower pay rates.

Unite members at London United, which operates services mainly in areas such as White City, Shepherd’s Bush, Ealing, Acton, Chiswick, Putney and Wimbledon are striking for three days.

Talks were held last week in an attempt to resolve the dispute, but the union says that RATP was not prepared to change its position and talks broke up without agreement.

Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy said, “Bus drivers are not taking strike action during a pandemic lightly, this is a last resort as RATP has refused to enter into meaningful negotiations.

“The latest strikes will inevitably cause serious disruption across the London bus network but I hope that passengers will understand this is the result of RATP's greed.

“Unite’s members are angry and insulted, they have risked their health to keep London moving throughout the pandemic and the only thanks they have received is attacks on their pay and conditions.

“Our drivers recognise that RATP is a highly profitable company that appears to be prepared to invest in everything apart from its drivers. Yet without drivers its services would instantly grind to a halt.”

Transport for London announced on 16 March that Quality Line and London Sovereign drivers would no longer strike that day.

It is understood that was because RATP has offered a new set of pay and terms, which will now be considered by Unite members.

London Sovereign drivers have been offered an improved pay rise and a lump sum, whereas Quality Line drivers have been offered only a lump sum. The exact amounts have not been disclosed.

Drivers from London Sovereign and Quality Line will soon reballot on the new offer before deciding whether to accept or to strike again on Wednesday March 24 and 31.

London United drivers have been offered no improvement and are still due to strike on 17 March.

Geoff Hobbs, TfL’s director of public transport service planning, said,  ‘We will do everything possible to reduce the disruption if this strike action goes ahead, but customers who need to travel should again check before they travel and allow more time for their journeys. We urge RATP Dev London and Unite the union to resolve the issue as soon as possible.’   

The routes affected by the strike action will be those emanating from the following RATP garages: Edgware, Epsom, Fulwell, Harrow, Hounslow, Park Royal, Shepherd’s Bush and Tolworth.

Bus routes listed below as London United are set to be affected by strikes on all three Wednesdays - 17, 24 and 31 March. London Sovereign and Quality Line routes will operate on 17 March with a vote to be taken on continuing industrial action on the following two Wednesdays. 

Route Operator Type
79 London Sovereign Day Route
142 London Sovereign Day Route
183 London Sovereign Day Route
251 London Sovereign Day Route
258 London Sovereign Day Route
288 London Sovereign Day Route
303 London Sovereign Day Route
326 London Sovereign Day Route
395 London Sovereign Day Route
398 London Sovereign Day Route
H10 London Sovereign Day Route
H11 London Sovereign Day Route
H12 London Sovereign Day Route
H14 London Sovereign Day Route
H17 London Sovereign Day Route
H18 London Sovereign Day Route
H19 London Sovereign Day Route
H9 London Sovereign Day Route
18 London United Day Route
33 London United Day Route
65 London United Day Route
70 London United Day Route
71 London United Day Route
72 London United Day Route
110 London United Day Route
111 London United Day Route
116 London United Day Route
203 London United Day Route
216 London United Day Route
223 London United Day Route
224 London United Day Route
265 London United Day Route
266 London United Day Route
283 London United Day Route
371 London United Day Route
406 London United Day Route
411 London United Day Route
418 London United Day Route
419 London United Day Route
423 London United Day Route
440 London United Day Route
465 London United Day Route
C1 London United Day Route
H22 London United Day Route
H32 London United Day Route
H37 London United Day Route
H98 London United Day Route
K1 London United Day Route
K2 London United Day Route
K3 London United Day Route
K4 London United Day Route
K5 London United Day Route
S3 London United Day Route
293 Quality Line Day Route
404 Quality Line Day Route
413 Quality Line Day Route
463 Quality Line Day Route
467 Quality Line Day Route
470 Quality Line Day Route
S1 Quality Line Day Route

School and night routes

Route Operator Type
642 London Sovereign School Route
N5 London Sovereign Night Route
613 London United School Route
662 London United School Route
665 London United School Route
671 London United School Route
681 London United School Route
696 London United School Route
697 London United School Route
N18 London United Night Route
N33 London United Night Route
N65 London United Night Route
N72 London United Night Route
N266 London United Night Route
633 Quality Line School Route

24 hour routes

Route Operator Type
148 London United 24 hour route
220 London United 24 hour route
281 London United 24 hour route
111 London United 24 hour route
85 London United 24 hour route
94 London United 24 hour route


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March 17, 2021