North West facing Arriva bus strikes over ‘pitiful’ pay offer
96% vote by 1,800 workers over cut to wages and sick pay sacrifice
Bus workers employed by Arriva in the North West have voted in huge numbers for strike action in a dispute over pay.
Unite, the workers’ union, says that all-out continuous strike action will begin on Wednesday, July 20.
Around 1,800 workers returned a 96 per cent yes vote in favour of strike action on a 72 per cent turnout.
Unite says its members are striking over a pitiful pay offer from the German-owned transport giant of just three per cent with no strings attached, or six per cent which included reductions in sick pay and loss of Saturday enhanced pay. Both the offers are far below the current real inflation rate (RPI) of 11.7 per cent and so constitute a pay cut.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This dispute is entirely of Arriva’s own making. It can fully afford to ensure its workers receive decent pay and conditions. Instead, Arriva has made our members a pitiful offer. Not only do they want workers to accept a real terms pay cut, they also want them to sacrifice their sick pay. This is just not acceptable.
“Unite will back these members to the hilt until this dispute is resolved and they receive a decent pay increase.”
The depots involved in the dispute are: Birkenhead, Bolton, Bootle, Liverpool, Macclesfield, Manchester, Runcorn, Southport, Speke, St Helens, and Winsford.
Pay rates for bus drivers differ between the various depots but, as an example, drivers at Winsford are paid just £11.08 an hour.
Unite regional officer Dave Roberts added, “The forthcoming strike action is set to cause widespread disruption to bus services throughout the North West. However, this dispute is all about greed not need. Arriva could make its workers a decent offer but it chose not to.
“Even now strikes can be avoided if Arriva made an offer which meets members’ expectations and returns to the negotiating table.”
The GMB union is also involved in the industrial dispute.
By Barckley Sumner