Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Strikes Threat as Bus Drivers Demand [Pounds Sterling]500 for Olympics

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Strikes Threat as Bus Drivers Demand [Pounds Sterling]500 for Olympics

Article excerpt

Byline: Dick Murray Transport Correspondent

LONDON bus drivers were accused today of holding passengers to ransom as they threatened to strike during next summer's Olympic Games unless they get a [pounds sterling]500 bonus.

The 28,000 staff claim they need the money just for turning up to work -- because their buses will be so busy.

But Boris Johnson called transport workers money-grabbers and asked their Unite union to back down.

The claim would slap a [pounds sterling]14 million bill on passengers and taxpayers. It is the latest of several, totalling nearly [pounds sterling]30 million, by transport staff to work during the three-week Games.

The Mayor branded Tube and bus drivers as "chiselling". He said: "It is incredible that people are using their positions to lever more money out of London's transport budget. I don't think it is reasonable." On the bus drivers' bonus claim he said: "I don't support it. There is no extra burden I can see."

Unite has written to all London's bus operators demanding the [pounds sterling]500 payments.

Its London regional secretary Peter Kavanagh accused the Mayor's office of "washing its hands" of responsibility for the claim. …

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