Home Breaking News London bus drivers prepare to strike affecting over 50 bus routes across...

London bus drivers prepare to strike affecting over 50 bus routes across South and West London

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From this December, bus journeys across South and West London could be heavily disrupted.

The Unite workers’ union has today (November 17) announced that it is will ask its members to vote on strike action over a breakdown in relations between bus drivers and Abellio London, one of the bus companies which operates routes on behalf of Transport for London (TfL), over bus driver schedules.

If the majority of the 950 Abellio London bus drivers who are in the union vote in favour of strike action when voting (known as a ‘ballot’) closes on December 21, then the 54 bus routes the company operates are likely to be severely disrupted from as soon as Christmas.

Unite, which represents the bus drivers, says that drivers’ shift patterns at the company are now ‘not fit for purpose’. That’s because Abellio London has centralised its scheduling system and is proposing that drivers who worked early or late shifts for years, with some even decades, now being required to work at different times. This goes against the scheduling agreement which was reached between Unite and Abellio London which set out the terms of the shift patterns for bus drivers this year.

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Should strike action go ahead, all of the routes at the six Abellio London depots (Battersea, Beddington, Hayes, Southall, Twickenham and Walworth) could be impacted. That includes TfL’s least frequent route, the twice-weekly 969, and its oldest route, the iconic 24.

The full list of routes which would be affected are routes: 3, 24, 27, 45, 63, 68, 109, 130, 156, 159, 195, 196, 201, 207, 267, 270, 278, 285, 315, 344, 345, 350, 367, 381, 407, 415, 427, 433, 464, 482, 490, 969, C10, E5, E7, E10, E11, H20, H25, H26, H28, R68, R70, S4, P5, P13, U5, U7 and U9; and night routes: N3, N27, N63, N68, N109, N207 and N381.

Unite regional officer Guy Langston said: “The scheduling agreement is not fit for purpose. Workers are having their lives turned upside down and are being given shift patterns which will simply make them ill.

“Unite has attempted to resolve this matter through discussion but Abellio isn’t listening. As a result, Unite’s members believe that they have no option but to ballot for industrial action.

“Strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption for passengers across South and West London but this dispute is directly a result of Abellio’s failure to negotiate. Strike action can still be avoided if Abellio accepts its scheduling agreement has failed and enters into detailed talks with Unite to resolve the issue.”

Journeys across the boroughs of Brent, Croydon, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Lambeth, Richmond-upon-Thames and Wandsworth would take much longer on strike days should the action occur. Several of the roads around busy locations such as Heathrow Airport could be left with no bus service at all.

A TfL spokesperson said: “We encourage both parties to get round the table and find a solution.” Abellio London was contacted by MyLondon for comment but none was available.

The news will come as a blow to TfL and the Mayor Sadiq Khan who face TfL running out of money on December 11, the threat of Night Tube strike action and the threat of winter Covid cases keeping people off public transport.

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https://www.mylondon.news/lifestyle/travel/london-bus-drivers-prepare-strike-22193648