Bus drivers who are members of Unite in London have voted 97% in favour of strike action in a consultative ballot.
The dispute, which has been named the ‘sick and tired’ campaign concerns long hours, fatigue and exhaustion. Unite argue that this is caused by poor scheduling of shifts, a lack of rest breaks, a shortage of decent facilities for breaks, late finishing, a lack of running time and not being treated with respect.
A culture of long hours and insufficient rest is damaging the physical and mental health as well as harming the relationships and family life of bus drivers.
Unite is now preparing for a full postal ballot of its members. If members vote for industrial action an across London bus strikes could be held this spring.
Bus drivers in London report that the levels of exhaustion mean that they are in danger of making driving errors and becoming a danger to passengers, other road users and themselves.
A strike could be averted even at this late stage. All of the capital’s bus companies could develop a fatigue management system that they would all be obliged to implement.
Unite regional officer John Murphy said: “London bus drivers have resoundingly given their verdict that they are sick and tired of being exhausted at work.
“The ballot result must act as an immediate wake-up call to the bus operators in London, they must take immediate action to introduce effective and comprehensive fatigue management systems.
“Inaction, prevarication, and delay are no longer an option for the companies as our members have overwhelmingly demonstrated that they want immediate action to improve working conditions.
“Strike action is being considered as a last resort. The problem of fatigue has been around for decades but has been getting significantly worse due to the work patterns our members are being forced to endure.”
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