The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has taken the first step towards fulfilling his election manifesto promise to “provide a new fairer deal” for London’s 25,000 bus drivers.
Transport for London (TfL) has been working with contracted operators and trade unions prior to the announcement.
Unions have long campaigned for parity in pay across London.
There will be a “fairer system for bus drivers’ pay” including a new starter minimum wage of £23,000 for drivers working across all of London’s bus companies.
Pay has previously been set by contracted operators, leading to what the Mayor’s office says are “large variations in pay” between drivers employed by different companies, despite their similar level of skill, experience, and the demands of the job.
Mr Khan says that £23,000 represents the current average starting salary of a bus driver. However there are variations locally and some drivers are paid less than this.
The new professional driver wage will “prevent a race to the bottom where competition for bus routes leads to pay for new starters reducing over time.”
Where employers currently pay less, the Mayor is encouraging them to work with trade union representatives to address any pay differences before 1 April.
In addition to new guarantees around drivers’ wages, the Mayor is “remedying the unfair situation” where drivers who have moved to another operator have found that their past experience and record has not been reflected in the pay offered.
Approximately 20% of London’s bus routes are tendered each year, with 11 operators currently active in the London bus market.
The news proposals include:
· A new ‘minimum professional London bus driver wage’ will be introduced to apply to all new TfL contracts awarded to bus companies from 1 April.
· Bus companies will be required to pay drivers at least £23,000 per annum reflecting the challenging nature of the bus driver role, which now includes a greater focus on customer service. TfL will apply this from all new contracts awarded from 1 April 2017 next year, and rising with inflation thereafter.
· A ‘License for London’ will be introduced no later than April, allowing drivers to move between companies, taking with them their qualifications and driving record, without having to go on a lower new starter rate. This will form an enhanced reference for their new employers and enable employers to bring drivers into relevant local pay structures reflecting their experience.
· The Mayor also expects TFL, Unite representatives, and the operators to continue working towards introducing a London-wide pay structure for minimum levels of pay based on three and plus five years’ experience. Because of the wide range of pay levels and arrangements across London this will take longer to implement.
· TfL will also work with Unite representatives and the bus companies to better support the progression of London?s bus drivers through to management and other industry positions, including addressing “historic under-representation” of minority groups. TfL will work with Unite representatives and the operators to develop an equality and diversity programme to build a working environment that fully represents the diversity of London bus workers at every level in every company.
· There will also be continued work to address a range of other issues such as inadequate provision of toilet facilities and regular late finishes to shifts.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says: “For too long drivers haven’t been getting a fair deal.
“Our new proposals are the first step towards ensuring our professional drivers are treated fairly, and get the pay they deserve.”