Bus Strike Underway on Thursday

But many services are running in Hammersmith and Fulham

The first of three bus strikes planned for this month is underway today, Tursday February 5 - despite Transport for London's last minute pleas to Unite the Union to call it off and returns to talks.

TfL say about half (47 per cent) of services are operating which they say is more than the 30 per cent which operated during the last strike in January.

TfL warned that services would be severely disrupted, disrupting the lives of 6.5 million passengers who travel daily across London.

However some bus routes in Hammersmith and Fulham are offering either a full or reduced service, including the 211, 295, 414, 220, 190, H91, 9, 266, 31, 49,207 and 237.

You can see a full list, updated this morning, of services which are running - and those which aren't - here.

Workers have already held a strike last month in an ongoing dispute over different rates of pay to drivers by 18 bus operators in London. The unions said the industrial action is a last resort.

The strike dates currently planned are today, 5th February: Friday 13th February; Monday 16th February.

Ths strike will affect services throughout the day and also night bus services operating on Thursday night into Friday morning. Bus services during the day on Friday should operate as normal.

All other TfL services are operating as normal. Bus & Tram Pass season tickets will be accepted on Tube, DLR and London Overground services via reasonable routes.

Unite says that drivers' pay currently differs by as much as £3 per hour depending on the company they work for from £9.30 to £12.34

Wayne King, Unite regional officer, says: "We urge London’s bus operators to see sense and collectively engage in talks to give London’s bus workers a fair deal."

But TfL calls the strike "unnecessary" and on Wednesday published an open letter from Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport, saying that bus companies pay a range of rates to reflect length of service and differing levels of knowledge and experience. Some drivers do not work late or at weekends, whereas others do. And some drive large double deck buses while others drive small single deck buses - requiring a different set of skills. Unite's demands could mean that drivers have to work on days and at times they currently don't have to.

The letter adds that each bus company has offered to meet Unite individually to try and resolve this dispute, and urges Unite to return to discussions with the individual bus companies to resolve this dispute without further disruption.

The bus companies involved in the dispute are : Arriva North, Arriva South, Selkent, London General, Metroline, Metroline West, Metrobus, CT Plus, London United, Abellio South, Abellio West, London Sovereign, Stagecoach, Blue Triangle, Northumberland Park, Tower Transit, Docklands and London Central.

February 5, 2015