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HomeLondon NewsHarrow commuters brace for disruption as London buses dispute escalates

Harrow commuters brace for disruption as London buses dispute escalates

Over 2,100 RATP bus workers in South, Central, and West London, including routes affecting Harrow, now poised to strike.

More than 300 London Transit staff are being balloted for industrial action, bringing the total number of RATP bus workers poised to strike to over 2,100.

The London Transit drivers and engineers, based at Westbourne Park bus garage in Notting Hill, are angry at a three per cent pay offer. This is a real terms pay cut, as the RPI rate of inflation was 5.1 per cent when the pay increase was supposed to be implemented in December 2023. The dispute is also over an attempt by London Transit to impose an unacceptable scheduling agreement.

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Additionally, around 100 London United engineers, based at eight garages providing services for South, Central, and West London, have joined 1,600 London United drivers in balloting over pay. The engineers have been offered 3.6 per cent, which again is a real terms pay cut.

London United and London Transit are both part of the French state-owned RATP Group, which had a turnover of €6.5 billion in 2023. In total, more than 2,100 RATP London-based bus workers are now being balloted for strike action.

Harrow residents are likely to face disruptions due to the potential strike action, particularly those who rely on key bus routes operated by RATP. Routes such as the 114, 140, 182, and 258, which connect Harrow with various parts of West London and transport hubs, may be affected. These routes provide essential links for daily commuters, school children, and residents traveling to major destinations like Heathrow Airport and Brent Cross.

The potential strike could lead to overcrowded alternative public transport options, such as the Metropolitan, Piccadilly, and Bakerloo lines, as well as National Rail services. Commuters should prepare for increased travel times and possible delays.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “RATP is a multi-billion pound company and can more than afford to put forward reasonable pay offers for its London Transit and London United workers. It must also properly consult with Unite to ensure that its scheduling agreements are fit for purpose. Unite is offering complete support to our members as they ballot for strike action.”

The London Transit ballot closes on 31 July, while the London United engineers ballot closes on 1 August. London United drivers will finish balloting on 22 July. Strike action will cause severe disruption to bus services in South, West and Central London.

Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy said: “RATP bears all the responsibility for the bus chaos its refusal to offer fair deals to London Transit and London United workers will cause. There is enough time left for strikes to be avoided, but that will require acceptable offers being tabled by RATP.”

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