On Tuesday 13 January, London bus workers in the Unite union will strike as part of their campaign to win equal pay.
Currently, Transport for London contracts out bus services to nearly 20 private companies. There are 80 different rates of pay across the companies, with no London-wide bargaining. Four companies dominate London’s bus services, operating 75% of routes between them. Big firms like Go Ahead and Stagecoach have paid out hundreds of millions to their shareholders in dividends, while overseeing fare increases for passengers and operating multi-tiered pay systems for their staff. Go Ahead’s Chief Executive earns nearly £2 million, a figure that increased by more than 100% last year.
The shocking pay disparity within and between bus companies is a direct result of privatisation and contracting out. A publicly-owned, integrated transport system would guarantee collective bargaining for all workers. The cost of subsidising private bus companies is enormous: TfL paid out £3.5 billion from 2000-2010.
Hands Off London Transport fully supports the bus workers’ strike, and looks forward to fighting alongside bus workers as part of the struggle for accessible, publicly-owned, democratically-controlled public transport in London.