It looks like London bus drivers may be preparing for a strike after so far being refused any kind of bonus or incentive for their work during the Olympic games.
So far, other similar workers have had bonuses agreed; with five hundred pound bonuses for both Network Rail and Virgin Rail employees. Those working on the London Overground are set to receive six hundred pounds and those on Docklands Light Railway have been promised a nine hundred pound bonus plus guaranteed overtime at enhanced rates. London bus drivers have asked for a five hundred pound bonus, which will equate to about seventeen pounds extra a day during the Olympics but have so far been refused.
The union Unite represents bus drivers for twenty one different bus companies in London. They held a vote in which more than ninety percent backed strike action. The union is currently giving the bus operators a last chance to reconsider their position before any proposed strike action. However, any action will need to take place within twenty eight days of the vote. This would fall before the opening ceremony. Industrial action could then be extended to add further walk out days that would clash with the dates of both the Olympic and Paralympic games.
Despite the fact that there was such a high percentage of votes in favour of a strike, the attendance was only thirty eight percent of Unite's membership. Transport for London (TFL) have argued that the low numbers in attendance is because seventy percent of London's drivers will not even be affected. Commenting further they added "the whole country is really entering into the spirit of the Games... only Unite appears to want to exploit it by adding a further multi-million pound burden to the hard-pressed fare payers and taxpayers of London."
Unite are of course arguing that the masses of people coming to the capital for the games will undoubtedly massively increase the workload of a lot of the bus companies. Furthermore, they have accused TFL of hypocrisy given the fact that seven of its top executives are in line for Olympic related bonuses so long as certain targets during the games are met. TFL have fought back explaining that the bonuses, worth five hundred and sixty pounds actually relate to a contractual two year incentive scheme and not just the Olympics games alone.