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The News Line: News STRIKING BUS WORKERS TO TOP UP THEIR CLAIM! BUS workers are to increase their Olympic Games payment claim against the bus privateers and Transport for London (TfL), Unite declared yesterday.

London buses will come to a standstill on Friday, as bus workers from every London bus privateer take strike action across the capital for the first time in a generation.

Every other London transport worker in London is receiving an award to recognise their extra effort over the Olympics, but bus workers have been left with no option other than strike action, Unite will therefore claim recompense for the day’s action, said the union yesterday.

Olympic awards have already been agreed for the following workers: Heathrow Express workers: £700; Network Rail: £500; Docklands Light Railway: £900; Virgin Rail: £500; London Overground: £600; London Underground: at least £850; BAA staff, up to £1,200.

Unite regional secretary for London, Peter Kavanagh said: ‘Bus workers will be on the frontline of London’s transport network during the Olympics but they have been treated with contempt by the bus companies and TfL.

‘They are claiming an award which every other London transport worker will receive.

‘If bus workers are forced to take strike action, we will increase our claim of £500.

‘TfL and the bus companies cannot just think they can do nothing and see strike action out.
‘They have to stop burying their heads in the sand and treat bus workers fairly or face damaging strike action and the prospect of a day’s pay being added to the claim.’

A recent survey of almost 3,000 London transport passengers, conducted by independent researchers for Unite, revealed that almost nine out of ten back the bus workers’ call for an Olympic payment.

Unite said for the 29 days of the Olympic and Paralympic Games the £500 is worth just £17.24 a day. A pint of beer at the Olympics will cost £7.23.

The latest TfL accounts for the full financial year 2011/12 show a budget surplus of £759 million.

The London Olympics is set to come in under its £9.3 billion budget with £476 million of the contingency funding left, according to new government figures. Bus workers are asking for an award of £500 net at a cost of just £14 million.

According to TfL’s annual report, the top seven staff at the organisation are in line to cash in on two years of annual bonuses worth £560,000 which equates to £80,000 each if the system runs smoothly during the Olympic Games.

On Friday 8th June over 20,000 members of Unite working for 21 London bus operators, including Go Ahead, Stagecoach, London United, Arriva, Metroline, First and Abellio backed strike action by an average of 94 per cent.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow backed the Unite action yesterday, saying: ‘Let me make this clear from the start, RMT stands 100 per cent alongside our brothers and sisters on the buses and it is a scandal that this group of fellow transport workers have been kicked in the teeth by TfL and the bus companies when it comes to a fair reward for the extra workload generated by the Olympics.’
 
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