North and West London’s bus network could grind to a halt this autumn, the Unite Union has warned, as hundreds of workers are to be balloted for strikes in an ongoing dispute over pay.
500 employees French-owned operator RATP in London will vote over the next month on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action, which could result in walkouts as early as late September.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said that the RATP needs to “stop dragging its feet and make our members a fair pay offer”.
“Unite does what it says on the trade union tin and it always puts the jobs, pay and conditions of its members first, the workers at RATP will be receiving Unite’s total support.”
The RATP currently run 112 bus routes from 10 different operational bases, providing a range of travelling options for the West End area.
New action would see bus drivers, engineers and controllers leave their posts, piling further chaos and disruption on a transport network which has already seen tube drivers vote to continue walkouts for the next six months.
Any involvement of engineers and controllers would result in a complete shutdown of RATP buses during the period.
Unite members have already rejected a range of pay increases of between five and 6.4 per cent, which fall below the RPI measure of inflation.
Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy said: “Strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to bus passengers across West and North London, but this dispute is entirely the own making of RATP’s management. They have had every opportunity to make an offer to meet our members’ expectations but have failed to do so.”