Hoffa Congratulates British Bus Workers On Olympic Victory
(WASHINGTON) – More than 24,000 bus workers in London have won a major victory for fair compensation, ending a city-wide bus dispute that threatened to disrupt the 2012 Olympics.
The bus workers, members of Teamsters sister union, Unite, in the United Kingdom, have voted overwhelmingly to accept an offer of additional compensation during the games.
“On behalf of the 1.4 million Teamster members, I congratulate our brothers and sisters with Unite on their enormous victory. They stood strong together to win the compensation that they deserve for their hard work,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President.
After six days of negotiations at the conciliation service Acas, Transport for London (TfL) and the employers made money available to secure a fair offer, recognizing the contributions the bus workers will make to keep London running during the Olympics.
The 21 private bus companies and TfL, their public franchising body, had previously refused to meet with Unite about an Olympic award.
Bus workers brought London’s bus network to a virtual standstill on June 22, following an overwhelming vote to strike over compensation. Bus workers were the only transport workers in the city not receiving additional compensation for the projected mass increase in ridership during the games.
“After almost a year-long campaign, bus workers finally have a fair deal which recognizes their contribution to keeping London moving over the Olympics,” said Peter Kavanagh, Unite’s Regional Secretary for London.
“Major disruption to London’s transport networking, and international embarrassment in the run-up to the Olympics could have been avoided if TfL and the employers did the right thing when Unite first approached them almost a year ago. Instead, bus workers had to fight tooth and nail to get recognition. Strike action is always a last resort, but for those who say it achieves nothing, we say, ‘Just look at London’s bus workers.’
“They would have been offered nothing by their employers and TfL would have done nothing unless bus workers took action to force them around the negotiating table.”
Nearly one million additional passengers are expected to travel on buses during the Olympics. Many of the buses are operated by multinationals, including FirstGroup, Stagecoach and Go-Ahead.
“We look forward to continuing to work together with Unite to drive up standards in the bus industry for workers at multinationals worldwide, most notably with our current effort at National Express Group,” Hoffa said.
Most London bus workers will be paid an additional £570, or about $900, for work during the Olympics and Paralympics.
A recent survey of passengers showed nearly 90 percent supported rewarding London’s bus workers during the Olympics.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.