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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bus drivers secure Olympic award with only a week to go until the games

The ITF is welcoming the news that after a London-wide strike and a subsequent six days of negotiations, London bus workers have overwhelmingly voted to accept an offer regarding an Olympic award.

71 per cent of the 20,000 bus members of ITF-affiliated union Unite, voted in favour of the deal from bus operators, which will mean they earn an extra £27.50 for every shift they complete for the duration of the games. The average number of shifts is 21 meaning most workers will get an Olympic award of £577.

Following a refusal to talk about an Olympic award from Transport for London and bus operators, drivers staged a London-wide 24 hour strike on 22 June, the first for decades. They were set to be the only group of London transport workers not to receive a payment in recognition of the increased workload they face during the Olympics.

Peter Kavanagh, Unite's regional secretary for London, said: "After almost a year long campaign, bus workers finally have a fair deal which recognises their contribution to keeping London moving over the Olympics. Major disruption to London's transport network and international embarrassment in the run-up to the Olympics could have been avoided if TfL and the employers did the right thing when Unite first approached them almost a year ago. Instead bus workers had to fight tooth and nail to get recognition."

Mac Urata, ITF road and rail section secretary added: “What was important in this case was that the bus workers were ready to cooperate with transport organisers during the Olympics. In some countries employers may take for granted that workers are ready to work above and beyond the call of duty during major international sports events like the Olympics. This UNITE victory sets an excellent precedent that workers' efforts should be recognised and when the union fights back, the results for members are positive."
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