by Andy Beadle, retired London bus driver
On Saturday 10 December, despite the sub-zero temperatures, plenty of drivers were still on the picket line at Abellio Walworth bus depot in South East London — although taking it in turns to go down the café to warm up a bit!
Sarah Liles, the Unite rep at Walworth, had been there since 4.15am. She says Abellio has the lowest pay rates in London, and that drivers want “pay equivalent to our peers… In twelve years, Abellio drivers’ rates have risen by only £4.12 per hour.”
They want holiday pay for the full seven-hour, 36-minute day, not the six-hour, 30-minute pay currently on offer. And they want better working schedules. Sometimes starting times are widely varied, even within the same week.
The Unite full-time officer has been approached by the company for more talks but the union has already announced more strike dates for January if Abellio does not make a pay offer acceptable to the membership.