Bus Strike Goes Ahead

First Group fleet could be out of action this week

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2,500 bus workers held a 24 hour strike on Friday 29th August after talks to avert a walkout failed. The bus workers rejected a final pay offer of 4% on the basic rate of pay and have planned a second strike, set to last 48 hours starting on Friday 12th September.

First Centrewest Buses are based at - Alperton, Greenford, Hayes, Uxbridge, Westbourne Park, and Willesden. Buses affected in the West London area are the following routes: 9(heritage service only), 10, 18, 23, 28, 31, 79, 83, 92, 95, 105, 187, 207, 223, 224, 226, 228, 245, 282, 295, 328, 331, 414, 427, 487, 607, A10, E1, E3, E5, E7, E9, E10, PR2, U1, U2, U3, U4, U5, U10.
Night routes: N10, N18, N28, N31, N207

George Dodo-Williams, Unite regional industrial organiser, said: "First group are making huge profits while their workers are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living in one of the world's most expensive cities. Unless First Group makes a realistic pay offer, strike action will continue and cause significant disruption to bus services across east, west and central London."

Strike ballots are now taking place in most other London bus companies in disputes over pay. The union submitted a London wide claim to all bus operators in March of this year to challenge the current system whereby drivers (and other grades) performing identical jobs within the TfL regulated industry, receive hugely varying pay and conditions. In many cases the pay disparity for drivers working for different operators can be as much as £6000 a year.

First Group's Managing Director London & Berkshire, Adrian Jones said, "Between 2004 and 2007, our bus drivers' pay has increased by 30%. Most of our drivers receive over £25,000 a year and this rises to over £30,000 a year for a normal rostered week for over a quarter of our drivers. We are prepared to discuss additional pay for any measures that would increase operational efficiency but Unite is currently unwilling to consider this. The Union's aspiration, which is part of a London-wide campaign, would amount to an increase of over 70% in our wage bill and is unrealistic. "

September 9, 2008