BUS passengers in Hillingdon are bracing themselves for disrupted journeys after the drivers' union voted for strike action in a row over pay.
Unite (formerly the Transport and General Workers' Union) has told First Buses, which has a garage in Bakers Yard, Uxbridge, of its intention to stop work at 3am on Friday next week.
The initial 24 hour walkout would then be followed by a 48 hour strike on Friday September 12 and Saturday September 13 and most of First's west London routes would be affected.
These include the 207 from Hayes to Shepherds Bush; the 607 from Uxbridge to Acton; the 282 from Mount Vernon Hospital to Eastcote and the U1, U2, U3, U4, U5 and U10 which all pass through Uxbridge. Also the night buses including the N207.
First says it is disappointed at the news following lengthy discussions with the union and said only 29 per cent of those eligible to vote were in favour of strike action.
Managing director for London & Berkshire, Adrian Jones said: "The London bus market has always been competitive and there is continuing downward pressure on tender prices.
"In the current circumstances, we believe the pay offer of 3.5 per cent is a good one, particularly compared with those currently being made in many sectors.
"Between 2004 and 2007, our bus drivers' pay has increased by 30 per cent and most of our drivers receive over £25,000 a year.
"We are prepared to discuss additional pay for any measures that would increase operational efficiency but Unite is currently unwilling to consider this.
"The union's aspiration, which is part of a London-wide campaign, would amount to an increase of over 70 per cent in our wage bill and is unrealistic.
"We will do all we can to minimise disruption to bus services but at this stage it is not possible to estimate how much they will be affected. We will supply further information as soon as we can and apologise for the inconvenience that may be experienced by our passengers."
Information on which routes are not running will be shown prior to the day on the company's website www.firstgroup.com also on Transport for London's site www.tfl.gov.uk