Under TfL’s plans, which are now open to public consultation, inner London bus services will be cut by at least four per cent, including around 16 routes.
Unite fears that the jobs of bus workers, including engineers, cleaning and catering staff, will be put at risk.
The reduction in routes is also set to hit drivers’ earnings. Many drivers currently rely on overtime and rest day working to top up their pay.
TfL claims that the service cuts are focused on routes which mirror rail or tube lines and where demand has decreased since the pandemic occurred and have not yet recovered.
However, Unite warns that failure by the Department for Transport to agree further funding requested by TfL will lead to further plans to cut services on top of those already under consultation.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite will not allow our bus members to carry the can for a funding row between TfL and the government. We will defend our members to the hilt from any attempts to make them pay for this crisis with pay cuts and job losses. Why should TfL workers pay for a crisis which is not of their making.”
Unite believes that the reduction in service will hit the poorest Londoners the greatest as bus travel is far cheaper than other forms of transport.
Unite regional officer John Murphy said: “These proposals are a kick in the teeth for bus workers who were hailed as heroes for their service during the pandemic. Now, they face job losses and pay cuts if routes are slashed.
“If these proposals go through, they will be bad news for bus workers, bad news for passengers and bad news for Londoners. They will hit the poorest hardest and will dramatically increase overcrowding on buses that are already extremely busy.”