Has the Olympic pot run out to pay the bus drivers?

Strike ballots have gone out today. The issue with this dispute is that unusually no-one is even talking to the unions about it at the moment.

What that boils down to is money and who'll pay the extra £14m or so for the bus drivers' Olympic payment.

Tfl says this is a commercial matter for the 21 bus operators.

The unions say extra revenues from the Olympics will increase Transport for London's fare box and their members should get a cut for the extra work.

In fact, Transport for London has been given some money by the Olympic Delivery Authority to put on extra services and the extra staff costings that entails (i.e. Olympic bonus payments), but it seems that the bus drivers are not part of that.

'Ignore the unions'

Many other TfL transport workers have done deals including those on the Overground and the DLR. So has the Olympic pot run out?

Also I have been trying to find out if TfL are reimbursing the private DLR operator for extra services from those central Olympic funds.

If it is then it would be extremely difficult to justify not paying private bus operators when TfL is already paying the DLR private operator Serco.

So far no-one at Tfl or the ODA can tell me. The details of the ODA/Tfl deal are not at all clear.

The tactic from TfL and the bus companies is to try and ignore the unions. Presumably they hope the issue will disappear.

Many thought the threat to transport during the Games could come from the RMT Union on the Underground. That deal isn't exactly done yet but at least a discourse is open.

The bus drivers dispute is at an impasse - if the strike threat is carried out it could be this dispute that cripples and overshadows the Olympics in London.

More on this story