London bike hire staff balloted for strike

Cycle hire scheme bicycles
Image caption There are 8,000 cycles available for hire in London

Staff running London's bike hire scheme are to be balloted for strike over a pay and conditions row, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union has said.

Union members, employed by Serco, were unhappy about a below-inflation pay rise of 2% and new shift patterns.

RMT's general secretary Bob Crow said the service is a "valuable part of our transport system and the staff should be valued as such".

Serco said it is in talks to address the issues raised by the union.

The scheme, dubbed "Boris bikes" after London mayor Boris Johnson, started in 2010.

There are about 8,000 bikes available from 570 docking station across central and east London.

Mr Crow added: "The scheme has attracted global publicity but now risks collapsing into chaos through a massive under-investment in staff, bikes and docking stations."

A spokesperson from Serco said: "Serco takes such matters very seriously and is working with the RMT to address the issues raised by them and to minimise disruption to the service."

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