London commuters' day of chaos as 27,000 bus drivers strike over pay

London bus

London bus Image by grassrootsgroundswell / CC BY 2.0

An estimated 6.5 million London commuters were today hit by a bus strike on top of the continuing serious disruption in a number railway stations across the capital.

The city-wide bus strike began at 4am in a row over pay. The affected firms include the biggest operators such as Go-Ahead, Metroline and London United, which are responsible for 97% of London’s bus routes, according to ITV.

Travellers have been urged to check the Transport for London (Tfl) website for up to the minute details of the situation.

Up to 27,000 drivers and all but five bus garages are involved in the strike across 18 bus firms, the Evening Standard reported.

Transport for London admitted there was "significant disruption" across the city due to the withdrawal of bus staff. The BBC estimated that only 44 out of London's 673 bus routes were operating.

The workers’ union, Unite, said the root of the problem was that wages for bus workers are calculated on a per-company basis. This has resulted in some workers being paid up to £3 more per hour than others. The union added that there were 80 different pay rates for drivers doing the same job.

Transport for London (TfL) described the stoppage as "extremely disappointing" and warned that services from buses operating on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning also faced disruption.

The bus companies involved in the dispute are: Arriva North, Arriva South, Selkent, London General, Metroline, Metroline West, Metrobus, CT Plus, London United, Abellio West London, London Sovereign, Stagecoach, Blue Triangle, Northumberland Park, Tower Transit, Docklands and London Central.

Meanwhile passengers using London Bridge station also faced further disruption because of rebuilding work, rail authorities warned.

Commuters travelling to London Bridge on Southeastern's Charing Cross services must now take different routes.

The disruption results from work on north side platforms which began yesterday.

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