Olympic organiser's £8m bid to avert London bus strike

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has offered £8.3m in a bid to avert a planned bus strike in London, mayor Boris Johnson has said.

Unite union members plan to strike for 24 hours on Friday, demanding a £500 bonus for working during the Games.

Mr Johnson said the money will be given to bus firms for negotiations but workers have to cancel the strike.

Unite "cautiously welcomed" the offer. It hopes to meet with bus firms at the conciliation service Acas on Thursday.

The union said it is expecting to meet with representatives of all 21 bus operators at Acas at 09:00 BST on Thursday. Arriva has told BBC London that it will be present for the talks with the union.

Bus workers are employed by private bus companies and the £8.3m made available by the ODA would be given to the companies to carry out negotiations with the 20,000 union members.

'Pull fingers out'

The mayor urged the union to "get on and negotiate".

He said: "I say to them that cash is available but it is only available on the condition that Londoners are not disrupted and that there is no strike.

"It is up to the employers to get on and do the deal. There is ODA cash available to the tune of £8.3m to compensate workers who are genuinely going to be doing more during the Olympic and Paralympics.

"It is absolutely vital that the bus companies now pull their fingers out and do this deal."

Peter Kavanagh, Unite's regional secretary for London, said: "Unite met with the Olympic Delivery Authority last Friday and we believe they were listening, so we cautiously welcome the money being made available by the authority.

"The mayor cannot now just walk away and leave it to the bus companies.

"We expect genuine involvement and intervention from the mayor and Transport for London to ensure the bus companies fulfil their duty to recognise fully the role their workers will be playing in making the Olympics a success.

"We cannot call the strike off until we hear from the bus companies and we are persuaded that TfL is serious about resolving this dispute. With only 36 hours left, every minute counts."

Olympic bonus deals

Image caption Bus staff plan to walk out for 24 hours on Friday

An ODA spokesman said: "Games-time transport operations need to be robust and represent the best way of providing staff and services.

"The ODA has always undertaken to meet TfL's additional operational costs relating to the London 2012 Games.

"These costs are fully funded and will be met through our existing operational transport budget."

The £8.3m is in addition to £91m the ODA gave to TfL to cover the additional costs of running extra services during the Olympics, including bonus pay deals agreed with train workers.

Deals have been announced giving workers at Heathrow Express £700, Network Rail £500, Docklands Light Railway £900, London Overground £600 and London Underground at least £850, said Unite.

Unite estimates it would cost £14m to provide a £500 bonus for every bus driver.

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