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London Bus Strike Is On Despite Judge’s Order, Union Says

London bus drivers will go on strike today despite a judge’s order that forbade the labor action at three companies, the union for the workers said.

Bus workers in more than 70 garages will walk out “bringing buses across London to a halt causing travel chaos,” the union, United, said in a statement posted on its website. The union said it would appeal the court order, which it said was an “affront to democracy.”

“Bus workers across the vast majority of London’s bus network will be on strike,” London regional secretary Peter Kavanagh said in the union’s statement. “This comes despite an injunction which was given without any proper explanation.”

The three companies, Arriva The Shires Ltd., Metroline Travel Ltd. and London General Transport Services Ltd., had argued that Unite didn’t properly conduct the strike vote. Judge Alan Supperstone yesterday issued an injunction and said he would give the reasons for his ruling next week.

“By calling its members on strike, Unite is inducing those members to break their contracts of employment,” the companies had said in written arguments in court.

Unite, Britain’s largest union with some 1.5 million members according to its website, seeks to stage the strike to gain extra payments for drivers working during the London Olympics starting next month.

“We have been ambushed and we are not in a position to defend ourselves today,” John Hendy, a lawyer for Unite, said in court yesterday.

Strikes will go ahead at London United, London Sovereign, Stagecoach East, Stagecoach Rainham, Stagecoach Selkent, Arriva North, Arriva South, First Capital, First Centre West, London Central, Abellio West, Abellio South, Metrobus, Docklands, Blue Triangle, CT Plus and Arriva Southern Counties, according to Unite’s statement on its website.

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