by Amy Jackson
Unite the Union has accused Transport for London of ‘ barefaced hypocrisy’, following revelations that senior TfL executives are in line to earn Olympic bonuses 160 times more than the award bus workers are demanding.
According to TfL’s unaudited annual report, the top seven staff at the organisation are in line to cash in on two years of annual bonuses worth £560,000 which equates to £80,000 each if the system runs smoothly during the Olympic Games.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, who earns a basic salary of £234,000, condemned bus workers whose average salary is £26,000, for asking for an Olympic award. Meanwhile, Mr Daniels himself will be one of the seven managers to receive the £80,000 bonus.
Bus workers are asking for an Olympic award in line with what every other London transport worker will get for the massive increase in workload during the Games. Unite has been urging TfL to intervene since September 2011 to persuade London’s bus operators to meet with Unite. In line with Boris Johnson’s rule of non-negotiation with trade unions, TfL has refused at every turn to help resolve this dispute. In a clear sign that bus workers patience has run out, they have voted by 94 per cent for industrial action.
Peter Kavanagh, Unite regional secretary for London, said: “This is barefaced hypocrisy of the highest order. TfL chiefs on six figure salaries are in line to earn Olympic bonuses worth 160 times more than bus workers are asking for.
“These revelations will infuriate our members and serve to strengthen their resolve to fight for fairness.
“TfL has done nothing to help get the bus companies around the table to resolve this dispute. Since September last year TfL has consistently refused to get involved. All TfL can do is condemn workers asking for a fair award for the massive increase in workload that they will face during this historic occasion.
“There is no doubt that with the huge numbers of extra passengers and major congestion on London’s roads, bus workers will be on the front line ensuring London runs smoothly during the Olympics.
“TfL’s approach to this dispute is a dereliction of duty to London, it is time TfL acted responsibly.”
For 2010/11 revenue for TfL from the buses was £1.3 billion, an 8 per cent year on year increase. Bus workers have endured pay freezes and below inflation increases over the last few years.
Following the strike ballot result, Unite has given the bus companies a final opportunity to reconsider their refusal to pay bus workers a bonus. If the dispute is not resolved, strike dates will be announced early this week – not what London needs in the run up to its big Olympic party.