Drivers on Sovereign buses have voted by nearly 90 percent to reject a management pay offer.
Bosses say their two-year pay deal is good for drivers. But it amounts to a pay cut.
Drivers would get a 2 percent increase in the first year and a 3.2 percent increase in the second.
But the devil is in the detail.
“Management want to introduce a new rate for beginners,” Robert Laird, the rep at Edgware garage, told Socialist Worker.
“It is unfair. They want to extend the probation period for new starters from six months to one year. And then in the second year they will still not get equal pay, but an ‘intermediary rate’.”
New starters at Sovereign are already the lowest paid in London.
During the London-wide pay battle in 2008/9, Sovereign drivers campaigned for a 14 percent pay increase for new starters, bringing them to an equal level with new starters across London.
Bosses claim they are in financial difficulties. But Sovereign is part of the multinational Veolia Transdev.
In 2010, before the merger with Veolia, Transdev reported operating profits of 73 million euros. The merger is likely to rake in even more profits.
The Unite union will now be organising mass meetings to discuss how to take the campaign forward.