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Bus workers in London may be set to call off further strike action after being made an offer for working during the Olympics.
Members of the Unite union had been due to walk out on Tuesday 24 July – three days before the Olympic opening ceremony - after continued refusal by bus companies to grant them a bonus for working during London 2012. A planned stoppage last week was called off due to further negotiations.
Negotiators have now reached a deal to settle the dispute after six days of talks between 20 London bus operators and Unite at Acas. Unite said it will put details of the offer to workers over the coming days with a recommendation to accept. Workplace ballots will be held on Tuesday 17 July.
John Woods, Acas Deputy Chief Conciliator, said: “Following six days of negotiations, Acas talks between the London bus companies and Unite have reached a conclusion. An offer has been made. The details of the offer remain confidential."
Unite regional secretary Peter Kavanagh said: “Following a London-wide strike and days of intensive negotiations we now have an offer which Unite is recommending to London's bus workers. By standing together London's bus workers got 20 London bus operators around a single negotiating table. We believe the offer is a fair one that recognises the work bus workers will be doing to keep London moving during the Olympics.”
The union had asked for a £500 bonus for its 21,000 members working during the Olympic Games, when up to 800,000 extra passengers are expected to use the capital’s buses. Other public transport workers including those at Network Rail, London Underground and London Overground have already been promised bonuses.
A bus strike that went ahead on 22 June disrupted two-thirds of the capital’s bus routes. But last week, Transport for London offered to share additional bus fare revenue with workers, preventing industrial action on 5 July. The Olympic Delivery Authority has also offered £8.3 million to fund bonuses. Unite has estimated that providing each London bus driver with a £500 bonus will cost £14 million.