Back to the bus strike and a few more details I picked up since Friday. The bus companies tabled an offer at ACAS on Thursday, £17 extra per shift worked on routes that served Olympic venues, which if the drivers had worked for all 29 days of the Olympics and Paralympics and worked those routes every day would make just short of the £500 they are asking for.
The obvious problem with that is like us lot at LUL the bus drivers work to a rota with set rest days and like us I would imagine that there is a legal limit on how many days you can work before you have to have a day off. Another flaw is that it won’t just be the “Olympic” routes that will be busy, it hardly seems likely that the spectators are going to come to London, go to the events they have tickets for then go straight back home without doing a bit of sightseeing and shopping.
The cost of the bonuses was first estimated by TfL to be around £12m but since then various figures have been bandied about. Between them the private bus companies make around £2bn profit in London, £12m doesn’t seem much for industrial peace, “chickenfeed” as Boris would say.
Boris condemned Unite, saying “It is disgraceful that the financial package we have brokered, offering extra cash for bus drivers, has not even been put to members” while Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy declared “It is now clear that the leadership of Unite were intent on a strike all along”.
Unite first raised this issue 9 months ago and after being refused negotiations they announced their intention to ballot for strike action on May 10th. TfL and the bus operators could have talked to the union at any time in the intervening six weeks but finally chose to do so with less than 48 hours left. Even then Unite were prepared to negotiate at ACAS, to me it seems that if anyone was trying to avoid a strike it was the union while TfL and the bus operators have done as little as possible.
That’s just my opinion but it’s my blog, so there. As far as the Olympics are concerned I wish we’d never got them, what with cricket, Wimbledon and the rest I think we’ve got more than enough sport in London over the summer. I think the regeneration of the site at Stratford has been a gigantic waste of money and will do little to improve the lives of those currently living in the area. I certainly don’t want to watch West Ham from the wrong side of a running track, God help us if we do end up moving there.
I can’t wait until it’s all over and we can get back to normal.