Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009

Bus strike halts 43 London routes

Commuters outside Upton Park Tube station
Commuters struggled to board the crowded services which were running

Drivers of 750 buses in east London and the City have gone on strike, halting 43 routes and disrupting 15 others.

The 24-hour walkout by the Unite union will last until 0300 GMT on Tuesday and is over the freezing of drivers' wages.

Talks between the East London Bus Group and Unite broke down last Thursday after the company said it needed to cut costs during the recession.

Day and night services covering Barking, Bow, Leyton, Romford, Upton Park and West Ham are affected.

It is understood there has been no service at all on 43 of the company's 58 routes during Monday.

'Enough is enough'

The union counts 2,400 of the company's 2,600 workers as its members.

"It's not something that we wanted to do and we've stood out in the cold to make a stand," Adam Powell from Unite told BBC London.

"We apologise to the public for any disruption caused, but it's got to the point where we needed to make a stand. Enough is enough."

Bus drivers' picket line in east London
The bus drivers' union said staff had no choice but to "make a stand"

Earlier a statement from Unite said its members want to be "treated fairly" and urged the company to "get back to the negotiating table with a fair and reasonable offer to end this dispute".

But the East London Bus Group said that in the current economic climate, it had to "monitor costs very carefully".

"This isn't just a pay freeze that we've offered [to] our drivers," said the firm's chief executive, Nigel Barrett.

"This is for the whole company, from senior managers downwards.

"It's a result of the economic position that we find ourselves in.

"We're not just singling the drivers out for this; it's everybody within the company."



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East London bus drivers to strike
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