Olympics 2012: London bus drivers threaten strike

Zeenews Sports Bureau

London: Thousands of London bus crews have voted to strike unless they are paid extra for working during the Olympics, the Unite union said on Saturday, raising the prospect of an exodus during the Games.

Unite had previously issued a warning which lasted from July 27 to August 12. It said, "strike action could take place up to and during the Olympic Games"

Unite represents about 20,000 bus workers in the capital in total and more than 8000 of them took part in the vote to go on strike. The union has approximated 800,000 extra passengers to use London’s buses during the games.

The Unite union is the biggest in Britain and has demanded a bonus of 500 pounds per head for Games duty from 21 private bus companies, after staff on the London Underground won payments of 850 pounds each for the expected heavier workload.

Transport for London, the public body that oversees the complex transport network for the capital`s population of more than seven million, said pay was a matter for the private companies involved.

Leon Daniels, head of surface transport, labelled the strike plan "unnecessary" and accused Unite of seeking to exploit the Games. He said "70 percent of London`s local bus services are not affected by the Olympic Games".

During the Olympics, London`s public transport network is expected to cater to an extra three million daily journeys, as 10,500 athletes, 9,000 officials, 20,000 journalists and millions of spectators descend on 13 sporting sites.

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