Bus strike on as talks break down
Talks aimed at averting a strike by London bus workers over an Olympic payment have broken down and the action is set to go ahead.
Officials from Unite spent the day meeting officials from 21 bus companies under the auspices of the conciliation service Acas to try to reach agreement over the union's claim for a £500 bonus.
A union official said the talks had ended and the strike would go ahead, although a last-ditch legal move to get the action called off was continuing in the High Court.
Three bus companies asked Mr Justice Supperstone for an urgent injunction requiring Unite to withdraw the strike call and instruct their members to continue working in accordance with their contracts of employment.
Andrew Stafford QC, for Arriva, Metroline and London General, said each company had refused to award a bonus and there had been no negotiations as they believed that the Games would not involve much, if any, additional work and the workers had contracts under which they received agreed levels of pay.
Unite regional secretary for London Peter Kavanagh said: "The bus operators have posted billions in profits but they are refusing to enter into genuine and timely negotiations with Unite despite being ordered to by the mayor of London.
"The operators' and Transport for London's collective failure to act decisively to end the dispute means tomorrow's strike will go ahead. Together the bus companies, TfL and the Olympic Delivery Authority can end this dispute at a stroke if everyone plays their fair part.
"The Olympic Delivery Authority has made money available but now it is up to the bus companies and TfL to step up and play their part.
"Despite the huge profits, bus operators have given their workers three years of below-inflation pay increases or pay freezes. If the operators shirk their responsibilities now, they will sow the seeds of massive anger and frustration across the bus network, inevitably leading to strife and industrial action during and way beyond the Olympic Games."
Acas chief conciliator Peter Harwood said: "We are disappointed that an agreement couldn't be reached. The parties do now have a greater understanding of each other's positions though, and we are sure they will reflect on our discussions. Acas services are still available if the parties wish to use us."