Workers at Dial-a-ride will begin a second series of strikes tomorrow (Tuesday 1 May) after peace talks to resolve the dispute, over the withdrawal of rest days and imposition of new rosters, failed to make progress.
The 120 workers who provide special needs transport for elderly people, the vulnerable and those with disabilities, on behalf of Transport for London (Tfl), operate from depots in Woodford north London and Orpington in the London borough of Bromley.
The workforce has described management’s plans to remove 10 rest days a year and impose ‘impossible’ now rosters as ‘turning them into robots’. The changes have created such high levels of stress and anxiety among members that they have been forced to contact TfL’s emergency helpline about their concerns.
Following the 24 hour strike tomorrow (Tuesday 1 May) there will be a further 24 hour stoppage this Thursday (3 May). Both strikes will begin at 00:01 hours.
The workforce first took 48 hours of strike action in late March (28-29 March). Since the initial strike, despite further talks with the conciliation service Acas, progress to resolve the dispute has not been made.
Unite regional officer Hugh Roberts said: “The management’s changes to rest days and rosters are causing the dedicated workforce huge stress and anxiety. They believe that management wants to turn them “into robots”.
“Members realise how many people are reliant on Dial-a-Ride to maintain their independence and do not take strike action lightly but despite extensive negotiations, management has refused to modify proposals and see reason.
“These proposed changes will endanger the safety of our members and Dial-a-Ride users, as drivers will not have sufficient time to recover between shifts from what is often a difficult and stressful job.
“Unite has always believed that this dispute could have been resolved by negotiation but those hopes have been scuppered by a high handed management that has been unable or unwilling to listen to reason and to amend the attacks on our members’ terms and conditions.”