There was solid support for Friday’s (August 26) 24-hour stoppage by London bus workers at the bus operator Tower Transit. Unite members took to picket lines and services were severely disrupted over the imposition of roster changes and a failure by an increasingly hard line management to commit to constructive industrial relations.
Urging Tower Transit management to reflect on the strength of feeling demonstrated by the stoppage, Unite decided to suspend a second 24-hour stoppage on Bank Holiday Monday (August 30) as a gesture of goodwill to give the company the opportunity to fully respond to issues at the heart of the dispute.
There were reports of just one bus every three hours leaving the depots involved in the dispute, which comes amid mounting anger over a lack of consultation over roster changes which are leaving workers out of pocket, as well as the non-payment of correct rest day working pay rates.
Over 1,000 drivers, engineers and controllers at the Atlas Road bus depot in Park Royal, the Westbourne Park bus garage and the Lea interchange bus depot are involved in the dispute which dramatically disrupted services on 28 bus routes on Friday.
“Tower Transit cannot hide from the strength of feeling demonstrated by today’s solidly supported strike,” said Unite regional officer Simon McCartney. “Members across the three depots have sent a clear message that they want constructive and genuine consultation and won’t be left short changed by imposed changes to rosters.
“A second 24-hour stoppage was scheduled to take place on Bank Holiday Monday, but the consensus on all picket lines on Friday was that with such a solid support for today’s strike, we should give the company time to reflect and respond fully to all of the issues at the heart of the dispute.
“Members also felt that it was right to demonstrate a clear gesture of goodwill to the hundreds of thousands of Londoners and visitors to Notting Hill Carnival who would have been severely disrupted by strike action on Monday,” McCartney added. “Monday’ strike was therefore suspended.
“There is now breathing space for Tower Transit to do the right thing and make the commitments members need,” he went on to say. “If however, the company chooses to squander this opportunity there will be further strikes and further damage to industrial relations.”