29/08/2008

Bus Drivers Begin Strike

London bus drivers have begun a 24-hour striker due to a dispute over pay.

Around 2,500 employees of travel company First will take part in the action, which will affect 80 routes across the east and west of the city.

Members of the Unite union want a standard £30,000 rate of pay for drivers across the bus network, based on a 38-hour week.

The walkout had been 'solid' according to a union spokesman, although First maintained that a number of routes were still running.

A spokesman for the company said some bus drivers had reported for work and eight routes were running services.

However, Unite said there were "just four or five workers driving" and services had been badly affected by action.

Union members decided to go on strike after rejecting a 4% pay increase deal on Wednesday.

A First spokesman said its pay offer was "reasonable" and the action would affect 14% of London's bus network.

Unite said pay disparity between London's 18 different bus operators could be as much as £6,000. Sick pay, pensions and holiday arrangements also differed, the union added.

Unite members plan a further 48-hour walkout on 12 September.

(NS)

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