Latest Round of Bus Strikes Called Off

Drivers to vote on new offer from the operating company

London bus drivers from Harrow Garage on strike
London bus drivers from Shepherd's Bush Garage on strike

Bus drivers have called off another round of strikes that were due to affect dozens of routes in south west and north west London this Wednesday, 24 March.

The Unite trade union has been in dispute with three operators who employ nearly 3,000 drivers – London United, London Sovereign and Quality Line.

The three operators have contracts with Transport for London and are owned French firm RATP.

Six days of strikes over pay and conditions have already happened since mid February.

The drivers feared proposed changes could have seen £2,000 on average cut from their salaries.

The new offer means that over 2,000 drivers will work tomorrow.

Quality Line drivers have already accepted a new pay deal. Whereas London United drivers will ballot on Friday to decide on an offer they have been made.

Unite said it is still in negotiations over a new deal for London Sovereign drivers, although the dispute has “significantly moved” following talks on Tuesday, 23 March.

If agreements are not found, drivers from London United and London Sovereign could still go on strike on Wednesday, 31 March.

The proposed changes which led to the strikes would have required drivers to “log in” when they sit behind the wheel of a bus, and log out at the end of their shift.

This would mean drivers wouldn’t be paid during their breaks or whilst waiting for their bus to become available before switching with another driver.

Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy said: “Unite has been clear from the outset that we believed that these disputes could be resolved through negotiations.

“By suspending strike action Unite is allowing further talks to resolve the dispute to take place and for members to vote on an improved pay offer.

“RATP is now realising that our members will not be browbeaten and are prepared to stand up against low pay and attacks on their pay and conditions.”

A statement from RATP said, “In these difficult circumstances, RATP has gone above and beyond what the company can do to make the best possible offer to staff and Unite last week, especially with an exceptional lump sum recognizing the efforts of our drivers through the health crisis.”

Owen Sheppard - Local Democracy Reporter


March 24, 2021