A senior Unite official has warned bus passengers to expect many more strikes until a pay dispute is settled.
Roger Dillon, Unite regional organiser for buses in north London, claims communication has broken down with employer Arriva London North over the 24-hour strike, which is due to start at 3am tonight.
He said further strikes are likely in the New Year as he does not believe the industrial action, which is set to involve 2,300 trade union members, will convince Arriva to increase drivers’ pay in line with inflation.
Mr Dillon, who will join the picket line outside Enfield and Wood Green bus garages tomorrow, said: “It has taken us a long time to get to this point and we are very disappointed because we believed that we were going to sort something out.
“We didn’t want it to come to this but now it has, we are in for the long haul.”
A total of 51 bus routes are expected to be affected with Transport for London (TfL) warning passengers to expect severe delays or cancellations to their journeys.
Extra pressure is also expected to hit Tube stations, with TfL pinpointing Wood Green, Turnpike Lane, Tottenham Hale, Seven Sisters and Victoria Tube stations as particular trouble spots.
Mr Dillon said bus drivers, who have not been given a pay rise since 2010, were offered a £600-per-year pay increase by Arriva. However, the union is calling for a percentage increase to their annual wage, which trade union members are prepared to discuss with their employer.
A planned strike was called off on Wednesday, November 14, but Mr Dillon claims Arriva – which provides approximately ten per cent of bus services for TfL - is no longer in talks with the union to cancel tonight’s action.
He said: “Nobody is in talks with us now. We have been waiting for the phone call all day thinking that someone wanted to talk to us but right now we are just getting the flags and banners ready.
“We can’t sit around waiting for the call.”
The Unite official said he believes the public will understand the industrial action because they will have noticed bus drivers have not been given a pay rise despite fares increasing annually.