London bus strikes suspended
London bus strikes suspended as eleventh hour talks produce breakthrough
London bus strikes scheduled for tomorrow (March 24) have been suspended following, eleventh hour negotiations that have produced improved offers.
The strikes, over pay and attacks on drivers’ conditions by the French owned bus company RATP and its three subsidiaries (London United, London Sovereign and Quality Line), were due to affect routes in North West, West and South West London.
However, negotiations in the London United dispute have significantly moved, following talks today (March 23) about a draft agreement on proposed changes to workers’ contracts. Negotiations will resume tomorrow and continue on Thursday.
Meanwhile separate talks about the London Sovereign dispute have produced an improved pay offer and members will be balloted on its details this Friday (March 26).
In light of the improved offers Unite, which represents the bus drivers, has suspended the strikes at both subsidiaries.
Strikes at the third RATP subsidiary, Quality Line, were called off last week after members accepted an improved pay offer.
Strikes in all three disputes began in mid-February, with workers having taken up to six days of strike action so far.
Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy said, “Unite has been clear from the outset that we believed that these disputes could be resolved through negotiations.
“By suspending strike action Unite is allowing further talks to resolve the dispute to take place and for members to vote on an improved pay offer,” she added.
“RATP is now realising that our members will not be browbeaten and are prepared to stand up against low pay and attacks on their pay and conditions.”
Strikes scheduled for next week (March 31) will still go ahead if talks do not lead to a resolution in the London United dispute or if London Sovereign members reject the revised pay offer.
By Barckley Sumner