London Mayor Scrambles To Avert Bus Strike
London Mayor Boris Johnson is "scrambling" to prevent the first London-wide bus strike in 30 years "over a dispute about Olympic bonuses," according to Mark Odell of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Johnson has secured £8.3M ($13M) to fund a deal from the games’ organizers. Unite, which represents more than 20,000 bus drivers and other staff, "is planning to stage a 24-hour strike" on Friday. They are accusing London's 20 private bus companies, which operate the services on behalf of Transport for London, of "refusing to discuss a claim for a £500 ($785) bonus for working during the games." Johnson, who is also TfL Chair, said that he had secured the extra funds from the Olympic Delivery Authority "to prevent the action going ahead." But he "threatened to withdraw the offer if Unite did not call off the strike." Johnson said, “Cash is available but it is only available on the condition Londoners are not disrupted and that there is no strike" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/20). Also in London, Alan Jones reported that Unite official Peter Kavanagh said that time was a factor. Kavanagh said, "We cannot call the strike off until we are persuaded that TfL and the bus companies are serious about resolving this dispute. With just hours left every minute counts (INDEPENDENT, 6/21).