BORIS Bike workers last night began a 48-hour strike over pay and conditions, in a move that is set to reduce the number of cycles available on London’s streets.
Around 150 staff have refused to work until 9pm tomorrow, meaning there will be fewer drivers to move bikes to areas with high demand.
“Staff running the scheme are subjected to a bullying management who are imposing outrageous changes to conditions of service while denying our members a fair pay increase in recognition of the growing workload,” explained RMT union boss Bob Crow, who is representing the workers.
Crow went on to say the workers were unhappy with the “imposition of a two per cent pay increase for 2013”.
The Boris Bike scheme, officially known as Barclays Cycle Hire, is run by FTSE 100 outsourcer Serco, which says it has contingency plans in place to deal with the strike.
But the company has repeatedly failed to meet expected service standards and regular users have been left frustrated by the shortage of bicycles at peak periods, especially near major rail hubs.
In addition, Transport for London (TfL) doubled all fares in January, meaning an annual pass is now £90 rather than £45.
Barclays promised to pay around £50m to sponsor the programme but figures uncovered by the website MayorWatch show it has already received a £1.6m rebate after the hire scheme failed to meet performance targets.
In turn, TfL has fined Serco £2.6m for failing to meet its obligations.