London bus strike: two-thirds off the road as deadlock causes chaos

Two-thirds of London buses have been off the road this-morning due to the drivers’ dispute, according to Transport for London a short while ago.

The strike results from a break-down in negotiations between TfL and the drivers’ union, Unite, in a dispute over bonus payments for increased workloads during the 2012 Olympics opening in east London next month.

London’s Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy said: “The union leadership were intent on a strike all along and have pursued this unnecessary action.

“This is despite an extra �8.3 million being brokered by the Mayor of London that would allow every driver in a garage where one or more routes were affected by the 2012 Games to get �500 over the 29 days.”

But the union accused TfL and the bus operators of refusing to negotiate “a meaningful settlement” and using the courts to get their way.

The strike has hit 17 operators across London, affecting 70 garages, bringing buses to a halt and causing travel chaos.

But a High Court injunction has prevented staff in the remaining three companies taking industrial action.

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The union accused the employers and outside influences of “ambushing” the High Court which saw the unprecedented

injunction granted without reasons given.

The union’s London region secretary, Peter Kavanagh, said: “The strike comes despite an injunction which was given without any proper explanation.

“Granting an injunction in the face of a massive vote for strike action is an affront to democracy.

“We will appeal against this anti-democratic decision that only serves to deepen the resolve of London bus workers.

“The decision by these three bus companies (taking High Court action) runs contrary to the Mayor’s call to pay bus workers an Olympic bonus.”

Both the Underground and DLR are unaffected, with a full service operating. The Overground network is also said to be running normally. London River Services which includes River Bus are running high frequency services along the Thames.

Bus passes will be accepted on similar alternative routes on the Underground, DLR, and London Overground during the strike.