London bus workers went on strike today despite questions hanging over a High Court injunction granted to three companies which their union branded "anti-democratic."
Most bus services in the capital - estimates varied between two-thirds and three-quarters - were halted in the 24-hour walk-out over Olympic pay justice.
Thousands of Unite members, pursuing a £500 payment for the massive extra workload during the Games, left over 70 garages of run by 17 of the capital's bus operators silent as they took to picket lines in "solid" action.
Unite warned that "bigger" strike action is on the cards as it vowed to appeal against the injunction which angered bus workers already furious at bosses' refusal to bring them in line with other London transport workers.
And this week's events raised serious concerns about what has been going on in the background and whether there has been any external pressure on the courts.
Thursday's injunction was granted just hours after London Mayor Boris Johnson brokered an extra £8.3 million from the Olympic Delivery Authority in a bid to get the two sides to come to an agreement.
Unite aims to appeal against the injunction but a spokesman said today it had not even received a written transcript of the decision - and won't until next week.
The spokesman said it was "outrageous" and "undemocratic - our lawyers are baffled. Transcripts are normally given out immediately - it is unprecedented."
Unite London regional secretary Peter Kavanagh said: "It begs the question of whether the court has come under any external pressure in making the ruling.
"Granting an injunction in the face of a massive vote for strike action is an affront to democracy.
"We are fast becoming a country where justice rules in favour of big business and tramples on the rights of ordinary working men and women."
He added: "We will fight to get the injunction over turned and further action will be bigger if Transport for London and the bus operators continue to bury their heads in the sand."
Going to court only heightens tensions, he said, and the legal move by Arriva, Metroline and London General "runs contrary to the mayor's call to pay London bus workers an Olympic bonus."
Mr Justice Supperstone said in court: "The court, of course, is not concerned with the merits of the proposed strike.
"The principle issue is whether there has been compliance with the statutory ballot and strike notice provisions.
"In my judgement, the likelihood is that the claimants will succeed in establishing at trial that the union did not comply with the statutory requirements."
Many passengers were supporting the striking bus workers despite the disruption.
One Twitter user said: "Of all London's transport workers, it is hard to think of a group more deserving of an Olympic bonus than bus drivers. Workload will soar."
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