London bus routes to be hit by ‘indefinite’ strike from October

Dozens of London bus routes are to be affected by indefinite strike action planned by thousands of drivers from next month.

More than 2,000 Unite union members that drive Arriva buses are threatening to walk out in an open-ended strike from 4 October.

No bus services will be operating from eight depots in north and east London: Ash Grove, Barking, Clapton, Edmonton, Enfield, Palmers Green, Tottenham and Wood Green.

Almost 50 bus routes would be impacted by the industrial action.

The routes are: 19, N19, 29, N29, 38, N38, 41, N41, 48, 73, N73, 78, 102, N102, 106, 121, 123, 128, 141, 144, 149, 150, 158, 175, 221, 230, 242, 243, N242, 253, N253, 254, 259, 279, N279, 313, 318, 325, 329, 340, 341, 349, 368, 377, 675, W3, W4, and W6.

The drivers said they will not return to work until a pay dispute with Arriva is resolved.

The union’s north London division voted to reject a pay rise offer of 11.2 per cent.

Unite is seeking a pay rise for its members in line with RPI inflation – currently at 12.3 per cent – as the drivers’ wages are being “eroded”.

If the action goes ahead, it will coincide with rail strikes planned for two days – 1 and 5 October.

On 30 September, about 600 Arriva employees are also set to take strike action in Kent.

It comes after a 48-hour walkout in London and Kent that took place during the August bank holiday weekend.

Arriva is owned by Deutsche Bahn, which is effectively owned by the German government.

Its UK bus division paid out £560m in profit transfers over the last decade, according to Unite.

The union’s regional officer Steve Stockwell said: “Arriva has totally failed to address the strength of feeling among our members as they see their rates of pay eroded.

“The company needs to return to the negotiating table with an offer which meets workers’ reasonable expectations.”

Alex Jones, operations director for Arriva UK Bus London, branded the strike action “counter-productive”, adding: “We are very disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement with our drivers.

“Our people play a hugely important role in keeping London moving and they fully deserve a fair pay rise –especially with the cost-of-living increasing so much. 

“It’s why despite the significant, increasing costs pressures on the bus sector, we have offered a generous pay rise – higher than any other London bus operator and an increase far higher than most workers are receiving from their employers at a time of considerable economic pressure.”

A spokesperson for Transport for London said: “Strikes are bad news for everyone. We encourage both parties to get round the table and find a solution to this dispute to avoid disruption to Londoners.”

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