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Harrow commuters could face ‘severe disruption’ due to public transport pay dispute

Harrow residents and West Londoners are being warned that the public transport system could grind to a halt as workers consider strike action as part of a pay dispute. The union Unite, which represents transport workers on many different networks throughout the capital, has warned that as many as 500 employees, including drivers, engineers, controllers, and supervisors, could walk out

The dispute could affect routes and garages across West and North London after workers rejected a pay settlement with provider RATP Group. Disruption to the public could be felt more than in previous strikes as the involvement of the controllers and engineers in industrial action would mean that no buses will be able to operate from any of RATP’s garages.

RATP has 10 garages in North and West London including in Harrow, Twickenham, Edgeware, Shepherd’s Bush and two in Hounslow. According to Unite all 112 routes run by RATP could be affected by action leading to “severe disruption”. The French company is contracted to run bus lines on behalf of Transport for London and has seen numerous cases of strike action taken by workers in the past few years.

The ballot to gauge whether workers are willing to strike if a pay deal is not increased will open on Monday, August 14 and close on Monday, September 11. If workers vote for industrial action, then strikes could begin before the end of next month.

Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy said: “Strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to bus passengers across West and North London, but this dispute is entirely the own making of RATP’s management. They have had every opportunity to make an offer to meet our members’ expectations but have failed to do so.”

Workers were offered various pay increases of between five and 6.4 per cent, however, they were rejected because they fall below the current inflation rate which stands at 10.7 per cent meaning a real terms pay cut.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “RATP is a huge multinational company that can fully afford to pay our members a decent pay increase. RATP needs to stop dragging its feet and make our members a fair pay offer. Unite does what it says on the trade union tin and it always puts the jobs, pay and conditions of its members first. The workers at RATP will be receiving Unite’s total support.”

A TfL spokesperson said: “We encourage both parties to work together to come to an agreement and avoid disruption to Londoners.”

RATP has been contacted for comment.

MyLondon has identified 102 routes that could be affect including the following frequently used by Harrow residents –

  1. X140: Harrow – Heathrow
  2. 258: South Harrow Station – Watford Junction
  3. H9: Northwick Park & Harrow Circular (Anti-clockwise) via Kenton
  4. H10: Northwick Park & Harrow Circular (Clockwise) via Kenton
  5. H11: Harrow – Mount Vernon Hospital
  6. H12: South Harrow Station – Stanmore Station
  7. H14: Northwick Park Hospital – Hatch End
  8. H17: Harrow – Wembley Central Station
  9. H18: Harrow Circular (Clockwise) via Headstone Lane & Kenton
  10. H19: Harrow Circular (Anti-clockwise) via Kenton & Headstone Lane)