Bus drivers and engineers in East London walked out today in a 24-hour action which stopped around 750 buses and either froze or disrupted 58 routes.
The East London Bus Company employs 2,600 workers, of which all but 200 are members of the Unite Union. The union balloted its members after the company imposed a pay freeze on its staff, claiming the recession had forced their hand. The vote was in favour of strike action by 84%. Drivers and engineers working out of Barking, Bow, Leyton, Romford, Upton Park and West Ham bus garages took part in the walkout.
Though company bosses are claiming that the recession is forcing them to impose pay freezes on staff, the East London Bus Company is owned by the Macquarie investment bank, which openly expects to make significant profits this year, 10% above those of the previous year. The bank has remained profitable throughout the financial crisis.