Local bus routes likely to be affected by bus controllers’ strike

Image above: Abellio buses

Routes servicing Chiswick, Brentford, Putney and Hammersmith will be affected 

Bus routes in west London are poised for disruption as 40 members of the Unite union, employed by Abellio, plan to stage industrial action over a pay dispute. Bus controllers, responsible for managing routes and ensuring safety, will walk out on six separate days.

Unite members are unhappy with Abellio’s management’s offer of a five per cent pay increase for 2023, a real-terms cut for employees earning around £10,000 less annually compared with those in similar roles at other bus companies.

Controllers, managers, and supervisors at Battersea and Twickenham bus garages will stage walkouts on successive Fridays: 19 and 26 January, and 2, 9, 16, and 23 February.

Routes serving Chiswick, Brentford, Putney, and Hammersmith, including 24, 27, 111, 156, 159, 267, 285, 322, 344, 345, 415, 490, 969, H20, H25, H26, R68, R70, are anticipated to face disruption. While services will continue, the union expects significant delays and deviations from the scheduled timetable.

Image above: Sharon Graham General Secretary of Unite

Members won’t stand for poor pay offers, says Unite

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:

“Abellio’s poor pay offer will bring chaos to London as our members take strike action to fight for better pay.

“Abellio has hundreds of millions of pounds of revenue from lucrative London bus contracts and yet it is trying to short-change some of its most vital staff. It needs to understand our members won’t stand for it.”

Unite regional officer Maxine Loza said:

“These workers provide an absolutely vital service to bus drivers and passengers. Yet Abellio is treating them with disdain with this pay offer.

“Abellio needs to come back to the table with an improved offer to avoid ruining the journeys of millions of Londoners. Abellio is to blame for this strike and they need to fix it.”

A spokesperson for Abellio said:

“We have negotiated with Unite since April 2023 regarding pay for its members in our Controller and Officials staff groups. It is disappointing to see Unite take strike action following an unconditional offer of a 5% increase in salary, back paid to January 2023.

“This offer is in line with increases made to other groups of staff within the business.We have mitigation plans in place for the strikes and are working with TfL to ensure Londoners can continue to travel during this unnecessary action.”

Rosie Trew, Head of Bus Service Delivery at TfL, said:

“We encourage Unite and Abellio to find a solution to this dispute. If this action goes ahead, bus services will still be available during strike days, but routes may be busier than normal. We’re encouraging everyone who might be affected to plan ahead, allow extra time for their journeys and check before they travel using our website or the TfL Go app.”