London Bus

Despite an injunction being granted by the High Court on Thursday that prevented three of the bus companies from striking there was still a considerable amount of chaos caused to London's transport network over Friday's strike. Unite commented that it had strong support from across each of its member depots and several picket lines were mounted across the capital. Unite further warned that they would fight the injunction that meant three of its member bus companies were unable to join the strike, meaning that any further strike would be even bigger and cause even more chaos.

Talks between ACAS and the twenty one bus companies broke down on Thursday. Acas Chief Conciliator Peter Harwood said: "We are disappointed that an agreement couldn't be reached today. He noted however, there had been some progress made since both sides were now more understanding of each others position.

The Arriva, Metroline and Go Ahead bus companies had applied for the injunctive order. A spokesman for Arriva said that the legal action was against the legality of the union's ballot process. Council for the three bus companies not taking part argued that to strike would be a breach of contract. The drivers had no contractual right to an extra payment. They are however, free to exercise their rights under their union but must do so legally.

Of course the actions of the bus companies involved could have disastrous effects on the fast approaching Olympic games. In an effort to avoid embarrassment the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) offered £8.3 million in a bid to avert action. The strike went ahead despite the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, telling the bus companies that the money would only be available of the strike was cancelled. Unite had considered this but argued that the bus companies remained reluctant to enter workable talks with them. They argue that the bus companies have posted billions of pounds in profits and even having been asked by the Mayor of London to reconsider their position they refuse to do so.

It should be noted that the £8.3 million offered by the ODA is in addition to £91 million they already gave to Transport for London (TFL) in recognition of their extra costs incurred through running extra services during the games. Unite is hoping that the strike will be a wake up call to TFL and that meaningful negotiations can now be reached. Boris Johnson said "I am saddened, disappointed and enormously frustrated that despite brokering £8.3 million of funding, union leaders and the private bus companies have failed to reach agreement, and as a result it looks likely that Londoners will face unnecessary and needless disruption." The strike is set to continue from 3 am on Friday to 3 am on Saturday.

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