More bus strikes planned throughout March

Image above: Abellio buses

Walkouts scheduled every week in March

Bus controllers at Abellio, working from Battersea and Twickenham garages, are to prolong their strike as pay disagreements continue.

The strike will affect various routes serving Chiswick, Brentford, Putney, and Hammersmith. The impacted routes include: 24, 27, 111, 156, 159, 267, 285, 322, 344, 345, 415, 490, 969, H20, H25, H26, R68, and R70. Although these buses will still operate, their reliability may be compromised.

Approximately 40 staff, including controllers, managers, and supervisors working in control rooms for Abellio buses (to be rebranded as Transport UK from 2 March), are set to undertake nine additional days of action starting on 7 March. Walkouts are scheduled for 7, 8, 9, 17, 19, 22, 27, 28, and 29 March.

Their union, Unite, argue there is no choice but to strike after Abellio failed to present an improved pay offer. Control room staff, responsible for utilising satellite GPS systems to monitor buses, have been offered a five per cent pay increase for 2023 by Abellio.

Unite say their members already earn approximately £10,000 less annually compared to counterparts at other bus companies and that they have been offered a smaller pay rise compared to those in similar roles at rival firms.

TfL is encouraging both parties to come to an agreement.

Unite members won’t stand for Abellio “short-changing vital staff”, says Unite General Secretary

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:

“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:

“Abellio’s refusal to come back to the negotiating table with an improved offer will cause traffic chaos for Londoners.

“Without these vital workers, buses don’t run on time and driver and passenger safety is jeopardised. Yet by refusing to come back with an improved offer, Abellio are showing just how little they value their staff.”

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 unnecessary 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 upcoming strikes and are working with TfL to ensure Londoners can continue to travel during this needless action. During the previous action, services ran as normal.”