Another Round of Bus Controller Strikes Ahead

Union says Abellio failed to make improved pay offer

Abellio buses in their depot. Picture: Abellio


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March 2, 2024

Bus controllers working for Abellio out of the Battersea and Twickenham garages are set to extend their industrial action in an ongoing pay dispute.

The routes that will be affected by the strike include those serving Chiswick, Brentford, Putney and Hammersmith. The full list of routes is: 24, 27, 111, 156, 159, 267, 285, 322, 344, 345, 415 , 490, 969, H20, H25, H26, R68, R70. These buses will all still be operating but may run less reliably than otherwise.

Around 40 staff including controllers, managers and supervisors who work in the control rooms for Abellio buses (to be known as Transport UK from 2 March) and who control the bus routes, instruct drivers on traffic jams or accidents on the routes are to take a further 9 days of action beginning on 7 March. Walkouts are taking place on the following dates: 7, 8, 9, 17, 19, 22, 27, 28 and 29 March.

Their union Unite says that the action is necessary after Abellio failed to make an improved offer.

Control room staff, who use satellite GPS systems to monitor buses, have been offered a five per cent pay increase for 2023 by Abellio. The union says their members already earn approximately £10,000 per year less than similar staff at other bus companies and have been offered a smaller pay increase than that offered to members doing the same job at competitor companies.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Abellio has hundreds of millions of pounds of revenue from lucrative London bus contracts and yet it is trying to short-change some of its most vital staff. It needs to understand our members won’t stand for it.”

Unite regional officer Maxine Loza said, “Abellio’s refusal to come back to the negotiating table with an improved offer will cause traffic chaos for Londoners.

“Without these vital workers, buses don't run on time and driver and passenger safety is jeopardised. Yet by refusing to come back with an improved offer, Abellio are showing just how little they value their staff."

TfL is encouraging the union and the bus company to come to find a solution.

A spokesperson for Abellio said, "We have negotiated with Unite since April 2023 regarding pay for its members in our Controller and Officials staff groups. It is disappointing to see Unite take unnecessary strike action following an unconditional offer of a 5% increase in salary, back paid to January 2023. This offer is in line with increases made to other groups of staff within the business.

"We have mitigation plans in place for the upcoming strikes and are working with TfL to ensure Londoners can continue to travel during this needless action. During the previous action, services ran as normal."

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