London bus drivers are to lobby the mayor’s Question Time on Wednesday of this week as part of the ongoing campaign to win equal and higher pay across all London bus companies.
The Unite union learned last week that Transport for London (TfL) has underspent on surface transport by £16 million in the last year.
Much of this has been funded by awarding cheaper contracts to bus operators—which in turn is funded by downward pressure on drivers’ pay and conditions.
Wednesday’s lobby is part of Unite’s ongoing campaign to win a 5 percent rise or a drivers’ wage of £30,000 based on a 36 hour week. Currently many drivers are priced out of London and forced to work long hours just to try to pay their bills.
The key question for the campaign is whether the union can get strikes back up and running in the new year.
Workers at many companies are impatient for action—having voted many times to strike, only to have planned action suspended in the face of legal challenges from the employers.
Many reps and activists now expect to reballot drivers in January.
Meanwhile drivers at Transdev Sovereign are set to announce the results of their strike ballot on Wednesday of this week. If they win the vote, they could strike in the first week of January. This will raise the urgent need for solidarity—and could be a crucial moment in kicking off the campaign in 2009.
Assemble City Hall, 8.30am, Wednesday 17 December. Email Sovereign drivers at Mohsinmail@yahoo.co.uk