Opinion Former Article

Unite leader accuses London mayor Boris Johnson of putting politics ahead of the Olympic Games

In a letter to the mayor of London, Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey has accused Boris Johnson and his party of wanting to "take on Unite", putting the success of the Olympic Games in "jeopardy" for politically motivated reasons.

In the letter Len McCluskey has made a final call to meet with Boris Johnson to avoid a total stoppage of bus services beginning this Friday 22 June. If there is no resolution there will be further days of action up to and during the Olympic Games. This is the third time Unite has written to Boris Johnson since September 2011 asking him to intervene (see notes to editors).

In a letter to the mayor, Len McCluskey writes (see here for the full copy of the letter):

"It is inexplicable that the bus operators acting as one, Transport for London (TfL) and you personally have so far refused to engage in any discussion on this matter with Unite. We are now left with no option but to conclude that the stance you are taking is politically motivated and that the success of the London Games is now being put in jeopardy as a consequence of you and your party's desire to ‘take on Unite’ following your earlier failed attempt to do so involving our tanker drivers. This is a truly reprehensible and irresponsible action."

"I make this final call to you to engage personally in assisting TfL and the bus operating companies in finding a just settlement to this matter; as the mayor of our city, chair of Transport for London and our host for the games. The eyes of the world are upon us and as the games draw closer the questions as to why we are in this position and who is responsible will come into sharper focus."

London buses will come to a standstill on Friday 22 June as bus workers from every London bus operator will take strike action across the capital for the first time in a generation.

Every other London transport worker in London is receiving an award to recognise their extra effort over the Olympics. Olympic awards have already been agreed for the following workers:

Heathrow Express workers: £700
Network Rail: £500
Docklands Light Railway: £900
Virgin Rail: £500
London Overground: £600
London Underground: at least £850
BAA staff, up to £1,200
London Underground maintenance workers at Tube Lines: £850
London Overground maintenance workers employed by Bombardier: £650

According to TfL's annual report, the top seven staff at the organisation are in line to cash in on two years of annual bonuses worth £560,000 which equates to £80,000 each if the system runs smoothly during the Olympic Games.

The latest TfL accounts for the full financial year 2011/12 show a budget surplus of £759 million. The London Olympics is set to come in under its £9.3 billion budget with £476 million of the contingency funding left, according to new government figures. Bus workers are asking for an award of £500 net at a cost of just £14 million.

ENDS
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Notes to editors
 

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