Union Unite and bus companies are currently round the table at conciliation service Acas, trying to find a solution to avoid tomorrow’s planned strike.
If you hadn’t heard about this, we wouldn’t blame you – we’ve scrabbled around Transport for London‘s website and can’t find any warnings. It’s basically all about the Olympics: other transport workers have negotiated extra payments for the Games of at least £500, and bus staff are asking for the same. The strike is scheduled to start at 3am on Friday and run for 24 hours.
Yesterday, in front of the London Assembly, Boris Johnson revealed a £8.3m pot of money from the Olympic Delivery Authority that’s available to pay drivers. It’s not the £14m Unite calculates would cover £500 each, but it’s a start. Unite say they’re willing to talk, also claiming
It is outrageous and irresponsible that the mayor and the bus operators have left it until the eleventh hour to negotiate when we have been seeking an agreement for nine months.
TfL have insisted all along that the dispute is in the hands of the private bus companies; but the Mayor and TfL chief Peter Hendy have now publicly told them to sort it all out. We’ll update this post when there’s more news, and let you know whether tomorrow really will see the first London-wide bus strike for 30 years.
Update 1330: word is that negotiations aren’t going well, and three companies are expected to apply to the High Court for an injunction to stop the strike taking place.
Update 1700: negotiations have broken down and Unite say the strike will go ahead as planned from 3am. Arriva, Metroline and Go Ahead are carrying on with their attempt to get a High Court order, but TfL have finally added travel advice to their website (“use alternative services” – gee, thanks) so we reckon the strike’s more likely to happen than not.