Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, which represents London’s bus drivers, has warmly welcomed the announcement today (Friday 14 February) that Sadiq Khan the mayor of London is introducing a retention payment to tackle the high turnover of staff.

Under the mayor’s retention scheme bus drivers will receive £1,000 after two years’ service as a London bus driver and a further £600 after three years.

All existing drivers who have already clocked up two or three years service on London buses will receive the payment.

The payment is aimed at tackling the problem of a very high turnover of bus drivers in the early years of service, which has created a shortage and is impacting on services. Some operators report that there is a 30 per cent turnover of new staff.

The announcement of the retention payment develops Sadiq Khan’s previous initiatives of introducing a minimum starter rate of £25,530 (April 2020) for bus drivers and the implementation of the License for London which preserves the seniority of drivers when transferring between operators in the capital.

Unite regional officer John Murphy said: “This is an enormous step forward in tackling high dropout rates among London bus drivers.

“Since becoming mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has taken action to begin to ensure that bus drivers are properly rewarded for their work in keeping the capital moving.

“While the retention payments will undoubtedly help to ensure that new drivers remain in post, it is now even more important that London bus operators step up to the plate and take action to ensure workers aren’t permanently ‘sick and tired’ which is a huge factor in drivers leaving the profession.”

Unite assistant general secretary for transport Diana Holland said: “This is a very important initiative as it is tackling the issue of progression, which bus drivers throughout the UK raise as a major concern.

“Sadiq Khan needs to be congratulated on introducing a retention payment for bus drivers. Unite is seeking action like this across the country to end the ‘race to the bottom’ for bus workers.

“The principle of investing in bus drivers is about investing in the communities that they serve.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

‘Sick and tired’ London bus drivers vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike action

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.