Dial-a-ride announce two-day strike reducing transport for vulnerable east London residents

Dial-A-Ride minibus, Photo: Tfl

Dial-A-Ride minibus, Photo: Tfl - Credit: Archant

Strikes over reduced rest days and new rosters are is limiting a transport service for the borough’s most vulnerable residents until Friday (March 30).

Around 120 Dial-a-ride employees working in Woodford and Orpington, in Bromley, are due to start a 48-hour strike from midnight tonight.

A small number of minibuses are still operating and Transport for London (TfL), who manage Dial-a-ride, is also arranging replacement buses from other depots around London and alternative accessible taxis companies.

The drivers, members of trade union Unite, claim that they are set to lose 10 rest days a year.

Newly introduced rosters, the argue, are also creating high levels of stress and anxiety that workers are forced to contact TfL’s emergency helpline.

“Our members do not take strike action lightly but they have been forced to do so because of these unwarranted and unneeded attacks on their condition,” said Unite regional officer Hugh Roberts.

“The removal of rest days and the imposition of impossible rosters will directly affect the safety of our members and their passengers, as they will no longer enjoy the rest periods they need in order to cope with what is a difficult, complex and stressful job.”

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The strike was confirmed at the end of last week when peace talks brokered by the conciliation service Acas failed to resolve the dispute.

“Inevitably this strike action will have a severe effect on Dial-a-ride users.

I hope it is understood that Unite members took strike action as an absolute last resort and they deeply regret the inconvenience caused to users of the service.

“This dispute is entirely the making of high handed management who have first failed to consult with workers and then refused to listen to their concerns.”

Responding to Unite’s allegations, Transport for London (TfL) said that they are working to resolve the dispute urgently.

James Mead, General Manager Dial-a-Ride, said: “We are working to resolve the rostering issues raised by Unite and urge them to call off this unnecessary strike action.

“We expect our regular dial-a-ride passengers to be unaffected by the industrial action. We are also doing all we can to make sure people who book through our next day and same day booking process can continue to use our service.”