Olympic bonus payments agreed for some Boris Bike staff, but RMT and Serco dispute could signal trouble

RMT claims to represent majority of staff working on Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, but union not recognised by operator

by Simon_MacMichael   June 28, 2012  

London Cycle Hire Scheme Bikes On Docking Station (copyright Simon MacMichael).jpg

More than 200 staff employed by Serco working on London’s Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, which the company operates, are in line for a £500 bonus for working through the Olympic Games, which start in a month’s time. However, the Rail & Maritime Transport Union (RMT), which says its members account for most of the staff mployed to run the scheme and which is not recognised by Serco, has rejected the company's offer, giving rise to the prospect of industrial action.

Transport workers throughout London are set to receive bonuses for working during the Olympics, with some tube train drivers set to receive payments running into four figures, although there remain disputes between some unions and employers regarding the amount of payments.

Some 220 employees belonging to the Community union are in line for the payment and are also set to benefit from better overtime rates during London 2012 under proposals due to be voted on by the union’s members during the coming days, reports the Press Association.

The union's spokesman Terry Pye said: "We believe this is a fair offer that all staff at the company can benefit from. It has been achieved entirely by negotiation and without the need to resort to threats of industrial action."

A spokesman for Serco added: "Serco has worked constructively with Community as the recognised union at Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme over a number of months.

"Following consultation with them over working arrangements and the terms for recognising and rewarding our staff over the Olympic period we are pleased to have reached this agreement."

The reaction of the RMT was rather different to that of Community, however. Serco does not recognise the former, and last month it was reported that the union’s members who work on the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme might take industrial action should the dispute not be satisfactorily resolved ahead of the Olympics.

In a statement published on the RMT website yesterday, general secretary Bob Crow insisted: "There is no Olympics payment agreement for the vast majority of the Serco bikes staff who are members of the RMT and we remain in dispute with the company.

"RMT is by far the biggest union on the Boris bikes and regardless of what others might be saying the issue of recognition is being dealt with by the TUC disputes procedure and we are continuing to both recruit and to fight for a fair deal for the Serco Barclays workforce for the Olympics and beyond,” he continued.

"It is completely untrue to say that RMT has withdrawn its claim for recognition with this employer - our direct call for recognition from Serco Barclays remains in place and internally within the movement the matter is being dealt with through TUC procedure,” added Mr Crow.

“RMT activists have worked to build a strong membership density and rank and file organisation on the "Boris Bikes" and that work goes on," he concluded.

5 user comments

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I have to work during the Olympics. Can I have some more money for doing my job?

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
28th June 2012 - 16:43

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I've traditionally supported unions but these payments are undisguised blackmail. I can't wait for when all tube trains run by computer and Bob Crow and his overpaid comrades can whistle.

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posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
28th June 2012 - 17:07

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Coleman wrote:
I have to work during the Olympics. Can I have some more money for doing my job?

This.

It's frickin ridiculous. If they get given a bonus afterwards for doing a great job, then that's fine. But threatening to strike if you don't get a bonus just for turning up to work when its busy? Find another job - plenty of people out of work who'd be happy to do it!

posted by step-hent [646 posts]
29th June 2012 - 8:54

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step-hent - i totally agree with you. Why should someone get a bonus for simply doing the same job as they have always done. It's not as if London is generally quiet and all of a sudden with the Olympics its going to get busy !

Due to traffic the buses etc hadly move and when the Underground is full there is nothing anyone can do about it.

We, the Police, have been offered the chance to work the Olympics but we will only get a meal allowance, no overtime or anything like that and certainly no bonus payment. We will travel from Northumbria in Police vans, work for 2 weeks then come home.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2664 posts]
29th June 2012 - 9:56

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stumps wrote:
We, the Police, have been offered the chance to work the Olympics but we will only get a meal allowance, no overtime or anything like that and certainly no bonus payment. We will travel from Northumbria in Police vans, work for 2 weeks then come home.

And in this situation, some additional pay would be totally justified - like lots of workers who are posted to a new location temporarily. I assume they'll be providing accommodation at least?

Should be a great experience at any rate - no doubt it will be hard work but hopefully you'll get to have some fun doing it too.

posted by step-hent [646 posts]
29th June 2012 - 10:21

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