London bus workers have voted overwhelmingly to strike over Olympic pay—raising the prospect of a bus strike during the games themselves.
The Unite union organised 21 separate ballots at bus companies across the capital. Some 93 percent of workers voted to strike on a turnout of 38 percent.
Unite said it would give bus companies “a final opportunity to consider this landslide result” before announcing strike dates.
The bus workers want a £500 bonus to compensate for hugely increased workload during the Olympic games. Passenger numbers are predicted to rise by 800,000.
Other London transport workers—on the tube, Docklands Light Railway and London Overground services—have already won bonus payments ranging between £500 and £900.
But bus companies, Transport for London (TfL) and London mayor Boris Johnson have all refused to offer a similar payment for bus workers.
Management will get their bonuses.
Leon Daniels, the TfL boss in charge of surface transport, attacked bus workers and dismissed their demands as a “multi-million pound burden”.
Yet Daniels will receive an Olympic bonus of around £80,000 on top of his £234,000 a year basic salary, Unite officials reveal.
He is one of seven top TfL managers getting bonuses that total £560,000.
In contrast the average annual wage for a London bus worker is £26,000.
“This is barefaced hypocrisy of the highest order,” said Peter Kavanagh, Unite’s London regional secretary.
A successful fight over Olympics bonuses could also pave the way for a wider campaign over pay on London buses.