Hackney school bus drivers threaten to strike over split-shift payment dispute

The tour starts at Hackney Town Hall

The tour starts at Hackney Town Hall - Credit: Archant

Drivers of Hackney’s school buses are threatening strike action in the new term in a row over split-shift payments.

A ballot took place in the summer over the row and the council was told of the result in October. Since then negotiations had taken place, but they recently broke down.

The workers, who pick up and drop off kids twice a day, want compensation for the split shifts they work, which is offered by other councils in London.

Onay Kasab of Unite said: “Our members play a vital role in ensuring children can have access to schools and an education yet the council has chosen to undervalue their role.”

Onay said the union had no desire to disrupt families before Christmas, but that unless the council engaged in “meaningless negotiation” bosses would have no option but to issue strike notice for the start of the new term.

Hackney, however, says the strike action was called in the middle of negotiations.

Deputy mayor and education chief Cllr Anntoinette Bramble said: “The council believes that talks with Unite regarding split shift patterns had not been exhausted when strike action was called.

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“We do agree that there is provision to negotiate, however we feel the generous hours allocation, which regional representatives have previously agreed to, has taken this into consideration, and we disagree split shift system does not allow for other employment.

“We also believe that the terms and conditions are generous when compared with other local authorities.

“Whilst it is true we did not put forward any counter offer, we did invite Union representatives to meet with senior members and have since planned to meet to discuss the situation further in January.

“The passenger transport team are highly valued by the council and we are committed to resolving this matter.”