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Metroline bus workers in London to stage 5 days of strike action, union announces

Five days of strike action on London’s buses were announced by the Unite union today.

The action, in response to Metroline failing to permanently drop its “remote sign-on” policy, is expected to cause serious disruption to services.

The union confirmed that there will be 48 hours of walkouts by more than 4,000 bus drivers in the north and west of the capital between May 25 and 26, followed by a 72-hour strike from June 7 to 9.

It comes after 96 per cent of Metroline West and 97 per cent of Metroline Travel members voted to take industrial action last month.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has instructed Transport for London (TfL) bosses to introduce an immediate moratorium on “remote sign on,” but the bus company is yet to commit to scrapping the policy in the long term.

The practice involves drivers not reporting to a depot but meeting their bus elsewhere, such as a bus stop, reducing costs and boosting company profits.

Unite warned that the policy raises concerns over lack of access to toilets and increased working hours for drivers while delivering no benefit to passengers.

Regional officer Mary Summers said: “Unite wrote to Metroline’s managing director Stephen Harris last month to give a generous and reasonable timeframe for the company to reconsider its position.

“We are sorry for the disruption to the travelling public that strikes will cause, [but] we firmly believe that the health and safety of our members [is] paramount.”

“Unite’s door is open for a constructive dialogue with Metroline before strike action begins and we urge them to take up that opportunity.”

A Transport for London spokesperson said: “We are commissioning an independent review into remote sign on to ensure that the impacts of any change are fully understood by all parties. We are pleased that Metroline has chosen to pause the introduction of remote sign on while the review takes place and we urge all parties to focus on working with us to assess the findings and resolve this issue.”

A Metroline spokesperson said: “Unite’s claims about 'remote sign on' are factually wrong.

"We have always been clear that it would be available to less than 1 per cent of our entire workforce. It is safe, voluntary and would only be implemented at locations with suitable facilities.”

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