London bus drivers in the Unite union on three networks (London United, London Sovereign, and Quality Line, all owned by French company RATP) will strike in February, in an effort to win better pay and conditions.
London United drivers, who drive routes in south and west London, will strike on 22-24 February. Proposed new contracts there could see drivers face pay cuts equivalent to £2,500 per year, and introduce zero-hour working for some drivers.
Quality Line drivers, who drive out of a depot in Epsom, Surrey, and earn £2.50/hour less than drivers at other RATP-owned companies, will strike on 22-23 February. London Sovereign drivers, on routes in north west London, will strike on 22 February. Their employer’s most recent pay offer was for an increase of only 0.75%.
The discrepancies in pay, terms, and conditions between companies are a legacy of privatisation. Rather than operating bus services directly, Transport for London tenders the operation of different routes to private companies, which can each set their own conditions.