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London bus controllers strike to cause 'chaos' for nine days

 (Abellio )
(Abellio )

The capital faces “traffic chaos” after control room staff working on bus routes across south and southwest London announced a strike in a row over pay.

Around 40 staff who work for Abellio buses, on routes including the 111, 159, 344 and 490 in south and southwest London, will strike on nine days beginning on March 7.

The staff, based at Battersea and Twickenham bus garages, will also walk out on March 8 and 9 and then on six more days that month.

A spokesman for the union Unite said the firm, which will be known Transport UK from March 2, had failed to make an improved pay offer.

The workers, who use satellite GPS systems to monitor the bus routes, were offered were offered a five per cent increase for 2023 which the union described as “a substantial real terms pay cut”.

The union said the staff earned around £10,000 less than staff doing similar work at other companies.

Unite regional officer Maxine Loza said: “Abellio’s refusal to come back to the negotiating table with an improved offer will cause traffic chaos for Londoners.

“Without these vital workers, buses don't run on time and driver and passenger safety is jeopardised. Yet by refusing to come back with an improved offer, Abellio are showing just how little they value their staff."

The union’s general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Abellio has hundreds of millions of pounds of revenue from lucrative London bus contracts and yet it is trying to short-change some of its most vital staff.

“It needs to understand our members won’t stand for it.”

Routes affected by industrial action, primarily in south and southwest London, are: 24, 27, 111, 156, 159, 267, 285, 322, 344, 345, 415 , 490, 969, H20, H25, H26, R68 and R70

The Standard has approached Abellio for comment.