The union Unite has warned of potential strike action across the capital’s bus network after Transport for London (TfL) proposed to cut or change 78 of the current 620 routes.
Unite has called on TfL to guarantee that no jobs will be lost and that take home pay will not be cut, as London bus drivers fear they will lose overtime and rest day working, which they rely on to boost their salaries.
“These cuts are an attempt to make London’s bus workers pay the price for the pandemic and we reject them entirely,” said Unite’s general secretary Sharon Graham.
“The option of Unite taking industrial action to protect our members is fully on the table.”
TfL announced on 1 June it would have to reduce the bus network by 4 per cent to comply with government pressures.
The public body is required to achieve £400m in savings by financial year 2024/2025 as part of the conditions set by Westminster in exchange for government bailouts, the latest of which is set to expire next Friday.
Graham called on City Hall to reject the cuts and “get on the side of working people” and demand the funding needed to “run a sustainable public transport system in London.”
If it were to go ahead, the bus strike will be the latest industrial action to hit London, in what many described as a “summer of discontent.”
Railway workers across different unions are set to walk out next week.
Members of the union RMT working for Network Rail and other 13 operators will walk out on 21, 23 and 25 June, while Aslef members working for Greater Anglia and Hull Trains will strike on 23 and 26 June.
Around 10,000 London Underground employees are also expected to strike on 21 as part of a dispute with TfL over pensions and job losses, City A.M. reported.