Bus strikes August 2022: how much do London bus drivers earn, what is average wage, why are they striking?

London United bus drivers have begun strike action in the capital

Bus drivers have gone on strike in London.

It is the latest in a series of industrial action in the travel sector, which has seen tens of thousands of workers protesting pay, wages and conditions across rail and bus industries.

Trade union Unite said 1,600 drivers at bus company London United would strike on Sunday and Monday, adding disruption to services which could affect those attending the Notting Hill Carnival as it returns in person for first time since 2019.

Unite claims the dispute is a result of the workers only being offered a pay increase of 3.6% for 2022 and 4.2% for next year, saying it would be a “real terms pay cut” because the real inflation rate (RPI) stands at 12.3%.

Bus services in the capital will be affected over the coming day due to the strike.

The strikes are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, so why exactly are workers striking? And how much does your average bus driver earn?

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Here is all you need to know:

Why are bus drivers striking in London?

Unite claims the dispute is a result of the workers only being offered a pay increase of 3.6% for 2022 and 4.2% for next year, saying it would be a “real terms pay cut” because the real inflation rate (RPI) stands at 12.3%.

General secretary Sharon Graham said French firm RATP, which owns London United, was “an incredibly wealthy” company that could afford to raise wages.

How much are bus drivers paid?

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According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for a London bus driver is £27,973.

A bus driver, by the name of Mike, speaking to MyLondon said: “You might start on £10 or £11 an hour. Every five years they might bump up your wage a little, but after 15 years you’ll still only be getting £13 or £14.

“You’d be better off working at Wendy’s”.

Which services and routes are affected?

RATP Dev Transit operates the London Sovereign, London United and London Transit bus brands.

These three companies run 112 bus routes from 10 different operational bases.

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The strike action will affect workers based at the following London United bus depots: Fulwell, Hounslow, Hounslow Heath, Park Royal, Shepherd’s Bush, Stamford Brook, and Tolworth.

The routes RATP Dev Transit operates are:

  • 9
  • 18
  • 33
  • 49
  • 65
  • 70
  • 71
  • 72
  • 85
  • 94
  • 105
  • 110
  • 116
  • 117
  • 148
  • 203
  • 211
  • 216
  • 220
  • 223
  • 224
  • 235
  • 258
  • 265
  • 266
  • 272
  • 281
  • 283
  • 290
  • 293
  • 371
  • 404
  • 406
  • 411
  • 418
  • 419
  • 423
  • 440
  • 465
  • 467
  • 470
  • 481
  • C1
  • E1
  • E3
  • H17
  • H22
  • H32
  • H37
  • H91
  • H98
  • K1
  • K2
  • K3
  • K4
  • K5
  • N9
  • N18
  • N33
  • N65
  • N72
  • N266
  • S3

What has been said about said about the strike?

Unite General secretary Sharon Graham said: “It (RATP) can fully afford to pay its workers a decent pay increase, but it is refusing to do so.

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“Our members play a vital role in keeping London moving and they are not going to accept a real terms pay cut when they are already worried about how to make ends meet.”

The bus workers involved operate from depots in Fulwell, Hounslow, Hounslow Heath, Park Royal, Shepherd’s Bush and Tolworth.

The Park Royal, Shepherd’s Bush and Stamford Brook depots all serve routes which are in the vicinity of the carnival.

The carnival is traditionally held on the August bank holiday weekend and is normally attended by around two million people.

Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy added: “Strike action will inevitably cause considerable disruption and delays across west and south London, including for the carnival, but this dispute is entirely of the company’s own making.”

A spokesperson for RATP said: “RATP Dev Transit London remains committed to resolving the dispute as soon as possible and we urge Unite to reconsider our invitation to return to the negotiating table.

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“In these difficult times, we are very concerned that should these strikes go ahead, our drivers will be out of pocket for three consecutive weeks and passengers will continue to suffer disruption.

“We call on Unite to return to the negotiating table so that drivers can receive their pay rise and we can restore services to passengers without further delay.”