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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

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.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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