Remote sign on should be ‘jettisoned’ call

London bus drivers to strike over Metroline’s controversial policy

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More than 4,000 bus drivers working for Metroline in London have overwhelmingly voted for strike action over the controversial ‘remote sign-on’ policy, Unite said today (Monday April 12).

Unite said that unless ‘remote sign-on’ is scrapped dates for strike action will be announced soon, as Metroline has stated it is only pausing the introduction of ‘remote sign-on’.

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan instructed the bosses at Transport for London (TfL) last month to introduce an immediate moratorium, which will not be lifted until detailed research into ‘remote sign on’ is completed.

A total of 96 per cent of Metroline West and 97 per cent of Metroline Travel members have voted for strike action on Metroline routes which cover north and west London. The company employs about 16 per cent of all bus drivers in the capital.

‘Remote sign-on’ means drivers do not report to a depot, but meet their bus at an alternative location, such as a bus stop. It forces drivers to start work away from the depot, reducing costs and boosting the company’s profits. The policy raises concerns over lack of toilets and canteens; increased driving hours; and waiting for the bus in unpredictable weather.

“The bus drivers at Metroline have delivered a massive mandate for strike action over ‘remote sign-on’ which has serious health and safety implications for our members,” commented Unite regional officer Mary Summer.

“This unpopular policy should be jettisoned immediately.

“We also strongly argue that there is no benefit to passengers and ‘remote sign-on’ could well cause disruption to services used by the hundreds of thousands of people who use buses every day to get to work and school.

“It is very disappointing that Metroline bosses are still actively considering ‘remote sign-on’, despite London Mayor Sadiq Khan ordering a moratorium on its introduction across the capital while a review is carried out.

“We welcomed the moratorium which is linked to the review by TfL. However, the message to the employers is that if they want to delay the review and play for time, so that our ballot mandate runs out then they can think again.

“Twice our members have voted overwhelmingly for strike action on this issue – this month and also last autumn by 97 per cent when we decided not to go-ahead for technical reasons.

“Unless we receive confirmation that ‘remote sign-on’ will be scrapped then we will issue notice for strike action which could take place as early as the end of this month,” she concluded.

By Shaun Noble

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