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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 11:57 GMT
Bus staff strike after stabbing
London bus
The bus driver was stabbed after a minor accident
Hundreds of bus workers staged an unofficial strike in London on Wednesday following the stabbing of a bus driver in a suspected road rage attack.

The driver, Francis Thomas, who is in his 30s, is in a stable condition in hospital after being stabbed once in the chest on Tuesday in Paddington, central London.

The First London bus company withdrew a number of services because of the walkout, causing huge delays for passengers in the capital.

Officials from the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) are meeting the company to discuss security in the wake of the attack, which was the latest in a series of incidents involving bus staff.

CCTV footage

The employees went back to work before 1200 GMT and bus services eventually returned to normal.

Mr Thomas was driving a number 28 bus that was involved in a minor road accident with a Saab car.

After a collision Mr Thomas drove his bus around a corner where all the passengers got off.

He told police he then heard a knock on his cab door and, after he opened it, he was stabbed.

The suspect was black and in his mid-20s, 5ft 10ins and had short hair.

Police are examining CCTV footage from the area for more details of the attack.

The TGWU said there had been a catalogue of incidents in recent weeks in the capital and other parts of the country, including objects thrown at buses, stabbings and physical and verbal violence.

Livingstone plan

A spokesman said: "The union has said many times that driving buses is sometimes a dangerous occupation and we see graphic evidence of that in this incident.

"Our thoughts are with Mr Thomas for a speedy recovery from his injuries.

"We will be urging the fullest-possible investigation and action by the company and police to protect our members."

Earlier this month, London Mayor Ken Livingstone proposed a 25m plan to deploy a squad of police officers on buses to help tackle assaults on staff and passengers.

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