The planned strike by London’s bus drivers has been called off at the last minute, following “significant movement” in negotiations on Tuesday 23 March.
The strikes, over pay and drivers’ working 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 Chiswick and across London.
The trade union Unite said a draft agreement has been produced on proposed changes to workers’ contracts, with negotiations ending on Thursday 25 March.
Since February there have been six strikes, with bus drivers fearing a £2,000 on average cut from their salaries. RATP’s new offer saw over 2,000 drivers work on Wednesday, instead of taking part in strike action.
Unite said a deal is still yet to be made for London Sovereign drivers and if agreements are not found, drivers from London United and London Sovereign could still go on strike on Wednesday, 31 March.
RATP had intended to implement a new clock-in system for drivers, which would have seen them losing their paid breaks, and pay earned whilst waiting for their bus to become available before switching with another driver.
Members ‘prepared to stand up against low pay’ – Unite
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.
“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.”
A statement from RATP said: “In these difficult circumstances, RATP has gone above and beyond what the company can do to make the best possible offer to staff and Unite last week, especially with an exceptional lump sum recognising the efforts of our drivers through the health crisis.”
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