Hackney council is being blamed for four days of planned strikes by drivers and passenger escorts on the school buses for disabled children in a dispute over payments for working split shifts.
Unite said its 33 members, who drive and assist the children to and from school on a daily basis, will stage four 24- hour strikes on March 19 and 26 and then on April 2 and 4.
The dispute centres on a £50 a week claim for compensation for the split shifts, backdated to July last year when the issue was first raised. Unite said this claim is based on the next grade in the Green Book national agreement which the union believes is the correct one for this group of workers.
“The last thing our members want is to cause the children any distress,” said Unite regional officer Onay Kasab. “However, council bosses have adamantly refused to negotiate for the last nine months and, in Unite’s opinion, are playing on the decency and humanity of our members that they won’t strike.
“But ‘enough is enough’, as our members have to live in one of the world’s most expensive cities,” he added. “If these strikes go ahead because of the authority’s continued intransigence, the blame will be at its door.
“We have tried to negotiate since the summer, but, so far, we have hit a brick wall with no offer at all being forthcoming.
“The impact of the strikes will be significant as Unite represents the majority of drivers and passenger escorts – and the council cannot run the service without our members.
“That said, Unite’s door for talks is open for realistic and constructive negotiations, so we can avert this industrial action.”