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February 15, 2020

Mayor unveils retention scheme for London bus drivers

World

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February 15, 2020

LONDON: Thousands of London bus drivers are to receive up to £1,600 under plans to help retain workers, it has been announced.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, whose father was a bus driver, said the move would affect around 20,000 employees amid concerns that retaining them was becoming increasingly challenging.

Figures show that bus drivers in the capital are most likely to leave their job in the first two years in the profession, with some of London’s largest operators reporting a 30% average staff turnover within this time.

Bus companies in the capital have also reported that Brexit and the weak pound are making it more difficult to recruit new drivers from abroad.

Under the plans, bus drivers will receive a payment of £1,000 after completing two years of service and will be eligible for a further £600 after their third year.

Drivers who have already completed three years’ service when the scheme comes into effect will be entitled to £1,600 in a single payment.

Sadiq Khan said: “As Londoners will know, I’m proud that my dad worked as a bus driver when I was growing up on a council estate in south London. So I know first-hand how hard they work to keep London moving all day and through the night. “I’m really proud to launch this new reward and retention initiative which, along with my minimum professional London bus driver’s wage will help us to retain more experienced bus drivers and deliver a better service for passengers and drivers alike.”

Claire Mann, director of Bus Operations at Transport for London, said: “Service reliability is impacted by high staff turnover, so this scheme will not only benefit the drivers themselves, but will also help improve service reliability for customers.”

Diana Holland, Unite’s assistant general secretary 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.”

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

“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.”