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The News Line: Feature Nine out of ten back Olympic payment for bus workers
Busworkers in east London during a recent strike over pay
A survey of almost 3,000 London transport passengers conducted by independent researchers for Unite, has revealed that almost nine out of ten back bus workers’ call for an Olympic payment.

Bus workers are the only London transport workers not receiving an award for the massive increase in workload during the Olympic Games.

An open-top double decker red London bus full of off-duty London bus drivers toured London bus garages yesterday as ballot papers for strike action were sent out to over 20,000 bus workers.

A total 2,955 London residents and visitors were interviewed on London buses and at major rail stations.

Half the respondents were interviewed in and around Stratford and the Olympic Park.

The survey found that 88 per cent thought that London bus workers should get an Olympic payment in line with every other London transport worker.

Also, backing up the union’s argument that bus drivers will be on the ‘frontline’ during the Olympics, 84 per cent of those surveyed believed that bus workers have the most contact with passengers.

Unite’s regional secretary for London, Peter Kavanagh, said: ‘Londoners, commuters and tourists overwhelmingly believe bus workers deserve an award for keeping London moving during the Games.

‘Passengers also acknowledge that bus drivers will be on the frontline during one of the busiest periods in the history of London transport.

‘With 72 days left until the Games begin and a strike ballot under way, it’s astonishing that bus operators are still doing zero to resolve this dispute and TfL is refusing to get involved.

‘Passengers should direct their anger at TfL and the bus companies.

‘Their behaviour is a massive dereliction of duty to London.

‘If bus workers take strike action up to and during the Olympic Games the bus companies and TfL will be to blame.’

Mass1, an independent research company, conducted a face-to-face survey throughout London between 6th April and 22 April, 2012.

A total of 2,955 surveys were completed, with a sample including both London residents and visitors.
52 per cent of the surveys were conducted in and around Stratford and the Olympic Park.

Other surveys were conducted on London buses and at major rail stations (King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and Euston).

Workers at Network Rail will get £500, Docklands Light Railway staff will get £900, plus guaranteed overtime at enhanced rates and Virgin Rail has agreed a £500 Olympic payment.

An offer of at least £600 has been accepted by workers at TfL’s London Overground. Unite members at London Underground will receive £850.

• Windsor and Maidenhead Tory Council stands accused by the GMB of targeting children with its 43% cut in budget for Sure Start Centres, and 12 job losses.

‘The Sure Start initiative is meant to give children the best possible start in life, so it is a disgrace that Tories in a well-off area like Windsor and Maidenhead should target the little kids with their cuts,’ says the GMB.

The GMB is calling for a broad-based campaign to oppose proposals announced by Windsor and Maidenhead Council to cut the Sure Start budget by 43% and cut staffing levels from 28 to 16.

The Council have tried to mislead the public by suggesting these cuts are restricted to management and administrative overheads while the reality is that front facing staff will have their jobs axed and the level of service to children aged four and under will be cut.

The Council is seeking to get more volunteers to help run the Sure Start centres.

Frank Minal, GMB organiser, said: ‘These proposals are shocking.

‘The Sure Start initiative is meant to give children the best possible start in life.

‘It offers a range of services focusing on family health, early years care and education and improved wellbeing programmes to children aged four and under.

‘Cutting back will impact on families who need practical support from the well-trained staff in the Sure Start centres.

‘The council’s answer to slashing staff is to seek yet more volunteers in the Children Centres.

‘The question that must be raised is why target those families in the community needing critical services and what protective measures will be in place to protect vulnerable children when the service is removed?

‘Normally decisions like these are delegated to the departmental lead officer.

‘However, Tory Councillors in Windsor and Maidenhead seem hell-bent on making their decision in isolation without prior consultation through staff-side representatives.

‘GMB and staff will resist these madcap proposals and are considering protests in the locality.
‘It is a disgrace that Tories in a well-off area like Windsor and Maidenhead should target the little kids with their cuts.

‘GMB is calling for a broad-based campaign to oppose these proposals.’

• Unison on Wednesday called on Deputy Prime Minister Clegg to ‘convince George Osborne to ditch the divisive plans to introduce regional pay in the public sector’.

In his Autumn and Budget Statements, Chancellor Osborne laid out clear plans for a wide-scale re-organisation of how public sector pay is set.

On Tuesday, however, Clegg suggested that he was against the plans, saying at a press conference that there would be ‘no regional pay system’.

Unison has warned from the start that the plans are simply a cost cutting exercise that would exacerbate the North-South divide, take vital demand out of local economies and lead to skills shortages in areas where pay is set lower.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘If Nick Clegg disagrees with regionalised pay he should convince George Osborne to ditch his divisive plans.

‘Far from being about making pay fairer, plans for regionalised pay in the public sector are simply a cost-cutting exercise.

‘Not a single public sector worker will get a pay rise, but many will see their pay cut.

‘Regional pay would hit communities hard, entrenching low pay in certain areas.

‘This would cut consumer spending in local economies which they desperately need to recover from the recession.

‘Stopping the level playing field in the public sector could also spark a skills shortage in areas where pay is set lower.’



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