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London bus workers are being driven around the bend

This article is over 4 years, 6 months old
Issue 2580


London bus drivers at a protest for the Bill of Rights in September
London bus drivers at a protest for the ‘Bill of Rights’ in September (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Bus drivers in London are being encouraged to work in unsafe conditions and are putting passengers at risk, says the Unite union.

London Assembly published a Driven to Distraction report on conditions for bus drivers in July 2017.

Transport for London (TfL) have published their response this week, but Unite says it doesn’t go far enough in tackling the issues.

One of the report’s recommendations was for an independent report into conditions for bus drivers. But TfL rejected this, and said, “We plan to discuss this matter at the bus safety summit this month”.

Some 25 people have been killed by London buses in the last two years. And there are concerns that bus companies are not prioritising safety.

A bus driver and Unite member spoke to Socialist Worker. “Companies are incentivised over mileage not safety,” he said. “So if you check your bus in the morning and realise something is wrong, you still have to go out on the road.”

Concerns are not just about safety, with many routes not have toilet or rest break facilities.

Bus drivers are currently fighting for a ‘Bill of Rights’ which include demands decent rest breaks, such as training, toilet facilities and sick leave.

The driver said, “We’re not talking small money here, it’s TfL.They should build infrastructure so drivers can go to the toilet.”

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