London bus workers in the Unite union are pushing for a city-wide pay rate across all companies and a schedules charter to regulate breaks and working time.
Around 60 union reps and activists from different companies across the city attended a Unite London bus workers’ conference earlier this month.
The meeting agreed to campaign for a London drivers’ rate of £30,000 or 5 percent, whichever is higher, based on a 38 hour week.
Paul Brown, a Unite rep from Travel London West, spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity.
He said his branch has already agreed to push the £30,000 claim.
“The conference was exciting,” he said. “Initially there was some talk about putting in pay claims for similar rates in 2010 but I said this would be too late – we need to do something in the next year. We have to get a London wide rate to stop the companies undermining each other and driving down pay.
“Drivers at our company are paid some of the lowest rates in London. But it’s not just about drivers. We should also have one rate for engineers, one for cleaners and one for supervisors across London.
“Action across a number of companies would bring London to a standstill,” he added.
Travel West London is owned by National Express. “National Express has more than doubled its profits in the last year,” said Paul.
Paul Brandon, a Unite rep at Metroline in North West London, was also at the conference.
He told Socialist Worker, “Anything that brings bus workers together – and involves more collective action throughout London – is a good thing.”