Bus Strike Underway - How Is It Affecting Londoners?

By BethPH Last edited 42 months ago
Bus Strike Underway - How Is It Affecting Londoners?

Photo by Hoosier Sands in the Londonist Flickr pool

London's latest bus strike is underway, with around 27,000 drivers said to have walked out at 12.01am in a dispute over parity of pay across the capital's bus companies.

Transport for London (TfL) has said that fewer than a third of normal services are running today and night bus services operating into Wednesday morning will also be affected, though tomorrow's will be back to normal. Find out if your service is affected here. Brixton station appears to have been affected particularly badly, with larger-than-usual crowds trying to get in and Twitter users describing it (perhaps somewhat melodramatically) as 'basically the apocalypse' and 'the end of the world'.

The BBC's Tom Edwards tweeted that London Mayor Boris Johnson has said that the strikes would result in fewer routes and some drivers on lower pay. GLA Conservative transport spokesman Richard Tracey asked striking drivers to reconsider and go back to work, calling for New York-style mediation between bus drivers and their employers:

“This sort of strike action, designed to bring London to a standstill, is archaic and belongs in the past, withdrawing services will only hurt commuters and businesses. In this case, it’s a fact of life that people doing similar jobs for different companies get different amounts of pay, so the call for standard wages across the board seems unrealistic. If you’re a bus driver, you provide an essential service. If you’re thinking of striking, please reconsider and go to work.”

London Assembly Labour transport spokesperson Val Shawcross said:

“Today’s dispute is regrettable, but not surprising given the fact that London’s bus operating companies treat drivers so unfairly.

"We call on the Mayor to intervene to get staff and employers around the table and to look for a mechanism which will allow TfL to ensure more fair treatment and better terms and conditions of employees within the bus industry.”

The Mayor has also criticised the turnout figures for the ballot — TfL says that just 16% of bus drivers voted for industrial action, while London Assembly Labour gives the figure as 84% which is quite a discrepancy. We're wondering how both sides did their maths.

Bus drivers in the Unite union were balloted for strikes in December 2014, with the first going ahead on 29 December. A further planned strike for 5 January was called off, but the two sides failed to resolve their differences, leading to today's walkout. Londoners appear to have more sympathy than for their tube-driving brethren — according to a survey of 1,645 passengers by Mass1, 66% backed equal pay for drivers.

TfL says bus tickets will be accepted on the underground, DLR, London Overground and London Tramlink and encourage stranded commuters to walk or cycle. Was your commute affected by the bus strike? Tell us in the comments.

Last Updated 13 January 2015

TFL untruths

On routes affected by the strike in general there are far fewer than 30% of buses operating. Tfl have included the 100% of buses running on routes on the periphery which are not striking to boost the overall figure, so it's rather misleading. Many routes have no service at all... Get the proper picture here.... (choose you route!) http://traintimes.org.uk/map/l...


To answer your specific question regarding the maths of the ballot:
- 16-17% of all drivers voted to strike (TfL is correct)
- 85% of those drivers who voted, voted to strike (Labour are conflating support amongst drivers voting and ALL drivers)
- neither figure is the "turnout" you're after, i.e. how many drivers voted in the ballot regardless of for or against the strike, which is 16% / 85% = ~19% of all drivers voted.

Additionally, we don't know whether the public "backed the strike" as you overstate the significance Unite's survey results (many have this morning): the question asked was “Do you think all bus drivers should be paid the same?”, which measures support for this issue independently of the strike action. It would be really interesting to see a follow-up to the same question asking whether the public still supported the principle if the drivers were striking - we'll never know.

Ballot data here (overseen by the Electoral Reform Services): http://www.unitetheunion.org/u...

Survey text at bottom of this page: http://www.unitetheunion.org/n...