Bus workers in London will strike on Thursday 5 July and Tuesday 24 July to demand that bosses award them an Olympic payment, the Unite union has announced.
The two new strike dates follow a successful London wide strike by drivers, engineers, control staff and instructors on Friday of last week.
The union is reballoting staff at three operators—Arriva the Shires, Go Ahead London General and Metroline—that blocked last Friday’s strike through a high court injunction.
That new ballot ends on 17 July—allowing the 4,000 workers affected to join the 24 July strike by their 17,000 colleagues should they vote for action.
“Last week’s action was extremely well supported and workers are getting angrier by the day,” said Peter Kavanagh, Unite’s London regional secretary.
“There will be no retreat. Bus services could come to a total standstill just days before the Olympics if bus operators continue to turn their backs on their workers.”
The bus drivers are demanding a £500 bonus payment in compensation for the expected huge rise in workload over the Olympics period.
Most other transport workers in London have negotiated awards ranging between £500 and £900—but London’s 20 private bus operators and Transport for London are refusing to do the same for bus workers.
Bus workers are in a confident mood after the success of last week’s strike. “The strike was solid—it was fantastic,” Steve O’Rourke, chair of Unite’s London bus drivers, told Socialist Worker.
“It had the largest picket lines we’ve ever seen, and it was the first time since privatisation that workers across London had come out together.
“It hasn’t been easy to organise—there are so many different companies and different grades of worker that companies try to play off against each other. But these greedy corporate bastards are not going to beat us. If they drag out until after the Olympics, we’ll still come out.”