Workplace Report January 2015

Bargaining news

One capital, 18 bus firms and 80 pay rates

London bus workers staged a highly effective strike on 13 January in pursuit of their demands for an end to unfair pay disparities across the capital.

Although London bus services are run by a public body, Transport for London (Tfl), they are provided by a number of private operators who between them have built up pay gaps of over £3 an hour for new starters.

Wayne King, regional officer for the general union Unite, pointed out that in contrast to tube drivers, there isn’t one collective pay deal for bus drivers. Instead their pay has to be negotiated on a company by company basis.

“There are over 80 different pay rates covering London’s bus drivers, dong the same job, even driving the same route but for different rates of pay,” he said.

Rates for new starters vary from £9.30 an hour to £12.34 an hour depending on the company.

The union represents over 27,000 bus workers working for 18 companies that serve Greater London. The companies affected were Abellio, Arriva, CT Plus, Go Ahead, London Sovereign, London United, Metroline, Stagecoach and Tower Transit.

Passing the buck, Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director of surface transport, said: “Bus drivers’ pay and conditions are a matter for the bus companies and Unite to discuss, as it has been for 20 years, and we would urge them to seek a swift and fair resolution for the sake of our passengers.”