30 May 2012

£850 Olympic bonus... for RMT members on London Underground

After the recent deal between Unite and engineers on the tube, London Underground has now reached an agreement with 10,000 employees represented by the RMT over an Olympics pay deal, averting the threat of an industrial dispute during the Games. Britain's largest rail union said tube staff will receive up to £850 for working during the Games, with drivers receiving up to £1,000. 

The RMT's general secretary, Bob Crow, said: "After months of hard work by our negotiators we have been able to come to an agreement that both protects the contractual rights and existing agreements of our members and rewards them in recognition of what we all know will be the biggest transport challenge ever faced by this city." Crow added that the union remained concerned over staffing levels for the Games. The RMT is also calling for a full-scale mock evacuation to test tube safety procedures.

Flexible working
The deal for maintenance, stations and control room staff includes an attendance allowance of £20 per shift, which could equate to a payment of £400, plus a £100 customer service bonus and a payment of £350 for flexible working during the games.

Bus workers
21,000 bus workers in the Unite union are being balloted for strike action over bonuses for their "massive increase in workload" during the Games between 27 July and 12 August. Unite has said strikes could take place during the games but so far neither the bus operators nor TfL are willing to fund extra payments. 


25 May 2012

FirstGroup sells off even more routes

Britain's biggest bus operator put more of its bus services on the block this week after claiming fuel costs, lower demand and reduced subsidies were hurting the division. FirstGroup will accelerate its programme of disposals, which has already seen it offload operations in North Devon and King's Lynn and a number of other depots, in order to protect profitability.  

Their bus operating profits fell nearly 10% to £134.4 million in the year to March 31 while the operating margin of 11.6% is expected to fall to 8% this year. The company said other divisions including UK rail and Greyhound coaches in the US were performing well as it recorded pre-tax profits of £271.4 million, down 1% on a year earlier.

23 May 2012

Miliband sides with bosses over Olympic bonus

Ed Miliband (annual salary £139,355) yesterday called for industrial action to be avoided during the Olympic Games after London bus drivers were balloted about a potential strike over a £500 Olympic bonus.
The Labour leader said public sector workers in the capital may face "extra strain" while the Games take place, but stressed there should be no disruption through strike action.
However, he did not suggest how else drivers may get what they are entitled to, faced with intransigent bus operators.

16 May 2012

Passengers back London drivers on bonus

The vast majority of those living, working and visiting London believe bus drivers should get a bonus for coping with extra work during the Olympic and Paralympic games, a new poll reveals today. Of those questioned, 88 per cent thought London bus staff should receive an Olympic payment "in line with every other London transport worker." 
Nearly 3,000 London transport passengers were questioned in the survey by Unite - launched to coincide with the start of a strike ballot among more than 20,000 bus drivers protesting over the lack of bonus payments. The result will be declared on Friday 8 June and Unite believes there will be overwhelming support for the strike call.

14 May 2012

£850 Olympic bonus... for tube engineers

Engineering workers on London Underground have voted to accept a payment of £850 each for working during the Olympic Games. The Unite union, which represents hundreds of engineering, electrical, power control and management workers, said the offer was accepted by 4-1 in a ballot.

Bus workers ballot
The union is also balloting more than 20,000 London bus workers for industrial action after  no extra Olympic payment was offered to them. Unite has called for a £500 payment to recognise the "massive increase" in workload during the Games, saying that 800,000 extra passengers are expected to travel on buses.

Unite regional secretary Peter Kavanagh said: "They are the only transport workers in London who will not receive an award for their major contribution to keeping London moving during the Olympics... London's bus operators' failure to even talk to Unite about an Olympic award, and Mayor Boris Johnson's refusal to intervene, means there is a very real prospect of a capital-wide bus strike."
Press Association

8 May 2012

Public transport strike paralyzes Bolivian capital

La Paz, Bolivia
A 48-hour strike by public transport workers paralyzed La Paz on Monday. The strike by bus and taxi drivers is the latest in a wave of labour protests to hit the government of President Evo Morales since mid-April. 
The drivers are protesting against a new law which requires them to use seat belts and to meet scheduled stops. The strikers blocked intersections with buses and taxis to bring traffic to a standstill in La Paz and the neighboring suburb of Los Altos.