London bus drivers angry that they are not getting a £500 Olympics bonus have staged disruptions to around 40 bus routes in the capital – and more are promised, with one strike planned just three days before the Games’ opening ceremony.

Transport for London (TfL) has refused to get involved, saying that the unions and the bus companies need to sort out the problem.

However, Leon Daniels, managing director of Surface Transport for TfL, said: “It is negotiation between the employers and union that is required to settle this dispute, not cynical action that disrupts the journeys of hard working bus passengers.”

And he accused the Unite union of not encouraging its members to take advantage of the £8.3m that had been made available from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

However, Steve Turner, Unite’s executive director of policy, said: “It is high time London’s transport chiefs got serious. With only 25 days to go before the Olympics opens, they must stop fanning the flames of this dispute. They know our demand for bus workers – £500 net, no corner cutting and no compromise.”

He added: “They have already insulted every one of our 21,000 members with their £12 per day offer and by telling them that they are not worth the award every other transport worker in the capital has been was awarded without fuss, including those working on Boris’s bike scheme who were awarded £500 just days ago. Now, to add insult to injury, they criticise the union for not consulting our members on an offer tabled that not only falls far short of the £500 (net) claimed; but would mean breaking the law as well as putting at terrible risk road and passenger safety at the busiest time on London’s roads. Their actions are grossly irresponsible.

“It beggars belief that the cartel running capital’s transport system can treat a key workforce, drivers, passengers and the visitors to London with such contemptuous disregard.”