London bus workers' strike in Olympics pay row ends

Thousands of bus workers in London have been on strike in a dispute over bonus pay for working during the Olympics.

Transport for London (TfL) said more than a third of bus routes ran during the 24-hour action which ended at 03:00 BST but "many routes were disrupted".

Members of Unite employed by 17 bus firms walked out over a £500 bonus.

But those working with London General, Arriva, the Shires, and Metroline did not join in after the firms won an injunction against the strike action.

Unite's regional secretary in London, Peter Kavanagh, said support for the action was "solid" and showed bus workers were "willing to stand shoulder to shoulder to get the recognition they deserve in keeping London moving during the Olympics. "

'Head in sand'

He added the action came "as bus operators hide behind an anti-democratic court injunction and refuse to settle the dispute."

"We will fight to get the injunction overturned and further action will be bigger if TfL and the bus operators continue to bury their head in the sand," he said.

Unite estimates it would cost £14m to provide a £500 bonus for every bus driver.

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.

TfL commissioner Peter Hendy said over a third of bus services had been in operation during the strike action.

TfL added passenger numbers were up by about 18% across the Tube, London Overground and Docklands Light Railway and no significant change in usage was seen in hire bike services.

It claimed that was because the average bus journey is just 2.2 miles long, suggesting many had chosen to walk instead.

It is understood the workers who went on strike represented about 85% of the total workforce.

'Wake-up call'

London Mayor Boris Johnson said the strike was "extremely frustrating" and added: "I can only conclude that this strike is being driven by hardline trades union militancy and a desire to have a strike for political purposes."

Unite representative Mr Kavanagh said: "The strike should be a wake-up call to the bus companies and TfL.

"They now need to negotiate meaningfully about rewarding bus workers for the massive increase in workload they will face over the Olympics."

TfL commissioner Mr Hendy said: "It is now clear that the leadership of Unite were intent on a strike all along.

"They have pursued this unnecessary course of action despite an extra £8.3m being brokered by the mayor that would allow every bus driver in London in a garage where one or more routes were affected by the 2012 Games to gain, over the 29 days of the competitions, about £500."

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