Bus drivers employed by East London Bus Group were on strike for 48 hours on 20 to 22 November, affecting 58 bus routes across east London and the City.
Members of Unite are protesting against the freezing of drivers’ wages by the company – a slap in the face as it coincides with the announcement of sharp rises in bus and tube fares by London mayor Boris Johnson.
London bus fares will rise by an average of 12.7 per cent from January 2010 while the drivers are told they must make do with nothing.
The union, representing 2,400 of the company’s 2,600 workers, said it would do “what is necessary to secure the decent increases that our members seek”. Pickets were out in force at affected garages, including Barking, Bow, Leyton, Romford, Upton Park and West Ham, and the mood was angry.
Unite regional secretary Steve Hart said: “We cannot tolerate pay freezes for these low-paid workers. Our preference is always for negotiation but we take strike action where necessary. Our negotiators and shop stewards have gone the extra mile to reach agreements, but across London many public transport employers are refusing to realistically negotiate.”
The latest 48-hour strike follows the drivers’ earlier 24-hour strike on 9 November.