Page last updated at 21:33 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

East London bus drivers to strike

Thousands of bus drivers working for the East London Bus Group are expected to stage a 24-hour strike from 0300 GMT on Monday over a pay dispute.

The Unite union has called members out after talks with employers broke down on Thursday, following their decision to freeze salaries, with no wage rises.

The stoppage is likely to hit 58 routes and some 750 buses across East London and the City, including night buses.

The company said they could not offer an increase as they had to watch costs.

Unite regional industrial organiser John Griffiths said: "Our members are extremely loyal and hardworking and will not tolerate this unacceptable behaviour towards them.

"All our members want is to be treated fairly and we urge management to get back to the negotiating table with a fair and reasonable offer to end this dispute."

Competitive market

Unite says it has 2,400 members out of the 2,600 staff working for East London Buses.

East London Bus Group's Chief Executive Nigel Barrett said: "The London bus market has always been competitive; however the current economic environment is impacting both the company's revenue and its growth opportunities.

"We need to monitor costs very carefully and responsibly. In the current circumstances, we are unable to offer a pay increase and have therefore had to maintain current pay levels.

"In the current recession we feel that these rates are fair and reasonable and remain above the market average for bus drivers in London."

The garages affected are Barking, Bow, Leyton, Romford, Upton Park and West Ham.

Bus routes in South East London, operated by Selkent from Bromley, Catford and Plumstead garages are not affected, nor are those operated by Thameside from Rainham.

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