London 2012: Bus strike to go-ahead despite injunction
- 21 June 2012
- From the section London
Bus workers from 17 companies will go-ahead with a 24-hour strike in London despite an injunction, a union said.
The Arriva, Metroline and Go Ahead firms applied for the court injunction, which was granted, and their workers have been told not to strike on Friday.
But union members at the other firms plan to walk out in a row over a £500 bonus for working during the Olympics.
Mayor Boris Johnson said the strike was "enormously frustrating". TfL said services "might be quite affected".
The strike will start from 03:00 BST on Friday.
Unite had called for the bonus to be paid to its 20,000 members, in line with extra pay deals agreed with train companies.
The three companies who went to court account for 15-20% of London's bus routes, providing services in north-west and south London.
TfL Commissioner Peter Hendy, said these companies and the routes they operate would be running as normal, but about the rest of the network he said: "It might be quite affected."
Unite's regional secretary for London, Peter Kavanagh, said: "Bus workers across the vast majority of London's bus network will be on strike tomorrow.
"This comes despite an injunction which was given without any proper explanation.
"Granting an injunction in the face of a massive vote for strike action is an affront to democracy. We will appeal [against] this anti-democratic decision."
Talks broke down
Arriva spokesman Francis King said the legal action centred on the legality of Unite's ballot process.
Granting the injunction, Mr Justice Supperstone said: "The principal issue is whether there has been compliance with the statutory ballot and strike notice provisions.
"In my judgment, the likelihood is that the claimants will succeed in establishing at trial that the union did not comply with the statutory requirements."
Talks between the bus operators and the union aimed at halting Friday's planned strike action broke down at the conciliation service Acas earlier.
On Wednesday the mayor announced that the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) had offered £8.3m in a bid to avert action.
Unite said it "cautiously welcomed" the offer. It blamed the failure of the talks at Acas on TfL's and bus operators' refusal to negotiate a meaningful settlement.
The £8.3m is in addition to £91m the ODA gave to TfL to cover the additional costs of running extra services during the Olympics, including bonus pay deals agreed with rail workers.
Deals have been announced giving workers at Heathrow Express £700, Network Rail £500, Docklands Light Railway £900, London Overground £600 and London Underground at least £850, Unite said.
Unite estimates it would cost £14m to provide a £500 bonus for every bus driver.
But following the announcement the strike would go ahead, Mr Johnson said: "It is extremely frustrating that it now appears inevitable that there will be a bus strike in large parts of London tomorrow and I have made it clear that there is large sums of cash to compensate drivers for the extra work they my be doing on some routes during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"But that cash is only available to staff who turn up for work tomorrow. There is a large amount of money on the table, there's been ample time for the companies and Unite to get their act together and sort it out."
Mr Hendy said: "As I understand it, the bus companies made three offers to supplement this with more of their own money, but the Unite leadership have refused to budge from their position of £500 after tax for everybody, and indeed have asked for more during the course of the negotiations.
"The union leadership have also refused to defer the strike to give time for further negotiations or for any of the offers to be put to their members."