T&G calls for pay parity on the buses

The
Transport and General Workers’ Union is calling for an overhaul of the bus
industry – including pay parity with tube drivers and more training – to
prevent staff shortages.

The
T&G says pay parity with Tube workers is needed to solve the problems of
recruiting and keeping drivers as well as engineers and support staff.

It
said recent figures show congestion charging will lead to an estimated 14,000
extra bus passengers in addition to the continuing growth in passenger numbers
witnessed over the last five years. An extra 1,000 bus drivers will be needed
to meet this demand, says the union.

Oli
Jackson, T&G senior regional industrial organiser for passenger transport
in London, said:

"The
industry must address the mounting issue of recruiting, training and keeping
drivers.

"That
means a comprehensive overhaul and review of pay and working conditions so the
exodus of bus workers to higher paid, less stressful and more valued jobs can
be stemmed.

"Last
year 247 bus drivers from a full complement of 600 left one garage in

London
and that’s fast becoming the norm. We must take a London-wide view to

tackle
this and to tackle the issues of raising standards."

Jackson
also called for unified and better training: "The T&G has continually
been making the case for unified and consistent standards of training
throughout London.

"What
we have had since privatisation and deregulation – and what is in operation now
– is a fragmented system which is not delivering.

"We
support the continuous improvement of bus services including regular training
and updating of driving skills to ensure passenger safety."

By Quentin Reade

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