London bus strikes postponed

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Two strikes planned by London bus drivers have been postponed.

Drivers were set to walk out on February 13 and 16 in protest over pay disparities across the city’s 18 bus operators. The Unite union wants to set up a forum with all of the bus companies to discuss how it can end pay disparities and improve working conditions.

Unite said it had postponed the strikes as an ‘act of goodwill’ and called on the bus companies to hold talks at conciliatory service Acas. It added that were this not to happen, the strikes would be back on.

Transport for London (TfL) said it is continuing to urge the union and bus companies to meet individually.

Drivers held a 28-hour strike last week over the same disagreement.

Unite claims pay differences between companies can see salaries vary from £17,000 to £25,000 but TfL said aligning wages across the board could cost up to £100m a year.

Unite Regional Officer, Wayne King, said: “They have a duty to London’s 6.8 million bus passengers, to join us in collective talks to end the pay inequality and pay chaos on London’s buses.

“All we are asking for is a collective forum to discuss how we can end pay disparities, over a sensible timeframe.

“We urge TfL to start playing a constructive role and sign a public statement of neutrality to confirm that operators can negotiate freely with Unite.”

Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of surface transport, said: “We welcome the postponement of the strikes and are delighted that bus passengers will not be further inconvenienced.  We continue to urge Unite and the bus companies to meet individually to resolve their differences.”