THE GIANT general union Unite last Friday announced that the 24-hour strike at First Capital East Buses and First Centrewest Buses had remained solid. The union is warning that the employer, FirstGroup, faces further disruption unless it returns to the negotiating table with an offer which recognises the hard work of these bus workers and the rising costs of living in London.
Unite regional officer, Peter Kavanagh, said: “This strike has been solid. It’s a clear indication of our members’ determination to get a fair deal. It’s time for FirstGroup to return to the negotiating table with an offer that our members deserve. FirstGroup is extremely profitable – it’s only right that these workers should get a fair share of the rewards.”
A further 48 hour strike is planned beginning Friday 12th September.
Strike ballots are now taking place in most other London bus companies in disputes over pay. The union submitted a London-wide claim to all bus operators in March of this year to challenge the current system whereby drivers (and other grades) performing identical jobs within the TfL regulated industry, receive hugely varying pay and conditions.
In many cases the pay disparity for drivers working for different operators can be as much as £6,000 a year.