Strikes are set to sweep across London from this Friday in a dispute that will affect the capital’s bus services, trade union Unite has warned.
About 2,500 bus workers at First Capital East Buses and First Centrewest Buses will begin action on 29 August for 24 hours, followed by a 48-hour strike on Friday 12 September.
The row comes after workers resoundingly rejected a pay offer of 3.5%. Both bus companies cover busy areas in the outskirts of London, including Dagenham, Willesden and Uxbridge.
George Dodo-Williams, Unite regional industrial organiser, said the dispute stemmed from disparities in the current pay system, whereby drivers performing identical jobs for different firms received hugely varying pay and conditions.
In many cases, the pay difference for drivers working for different operators can be as much as £6,000 a year.
He added: “London bus workers have consistently delivered huge increases in efficiency and performance since the return of local government to London. Yet these workers are being forced to take action to stake their claim for a share of the profits generated by their hard work.”
Strike ballots are also taking place in most other London bus companies in disputes over pay, Dodo-Williams said.
The action follows hot on the heels of threatened Tube strikes in the capital, which were called off at the last minute by the RMT union last week, again concerning disputes over pay.