OPES of a breakthrough in a long-running bus dispute rose today as drivers suspended strike action and got back behind the wheel on more than 60 routes.
Abellio services in south and west London have been disrupted on about 20 occasions since November as about 1,900 members of the Unite union took action in pursuit of a pay rise.
Abellio bosses decided to impose an increase of 13.5 per cent – meaning pay packets will have increased by around £5,000 to £40,000 for a driver with two years’ experience. Starting salaries have increased to more than £32,000.
Strikes planned for Monday and Tuesday have been called off. Union members are being balloted on whether to end their action, with union leaders having recommended that the deal be accepted.
Bus routes affected included the 24, 111, 159, 285, 344 and 345.
February 20 and 21, and five successive days in early March, had been earmarked for the next strikes.
But Abellio chiefs say the numbers of drivers taking action has fallen – and it has latterly been able to run more than 50 per cent of services on strike days.
Jon Eardley, Managing Director of Abellio London, said: “This is the best deal we are going to get, and it’s a very good deal.
“We want to ensure that bus driving is an attractive job and good, secure work. No-one should need to do overtime to pay their bills.”