Bus strikes that were expected to bring the capital to a halt over the next week have been postponed, bringing relief to thousands of commuters.
Drivers striking over pay have postponed 24-hour walkouts which were scheduled to take place on Friday and Monday, Unite has said.
The union representing the bus drivers will enter talks with the 18 bus operators in the capital to resolve the issue of pay inequality.
It has also called on Transport for London (TfL) to sign a neutrality statement agreeing not to block talks between the two sides.
"We call on the capital’s bus operators to seize this window of opportunity and join us collectively in talks at Acas. There can be no excuses for them not to. We've postponed the two days of strike action in an act of goodwill and we are not asking them to break competition law by meeting us collectively. The ball is firmly in the court of London’s bus companies," said Unite officer Wayne King.
Two days of walkouts took place in January and February, causing chaos for commuters. Further strikes could still go ahead at a later date if an agreement can't be reached, Unite warned.
“They have a duty to London’s 6.8 million bus passengers to join us in collective talks to end the pay inequality and pay chaos on London’s buses. All we are asking for is a collective forum to discuss how we can end pay disparities over a sensible time frame. A failure to do so will mean that strike action and the disruption caused by the last two strongly supported strikes will be back on the cards,” said King.
Labour shadow minister for London, Sadiq Khan, welcomed the postponement. “I’m glad to hear that Unite have postponed the strike planned for this Friday. TfL and the Mayor of London now have a huge responsibility to the 6.8 million Londoners who use our buses every day, to get round the table with the bus operators and the unions and negotiate a resolution to this dispute.”