West Mids National Express engineers to strike over pay

3,000 drivers also poised to join striking engineers who maintain vehicles for 93% of region’s bus network

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Around 200 West Midland’s National Express engineers have voted by 93 per cent in a ballot with a turnout of 80 per cent to strike over pay, Unite said today (January 19).

The engineers – responsible for maintaining 1,200 vehicles that cover 93 per cent of the region’s bus network – could be joined on strike by 3,000 bus drivers, who are also about to be balloted for industrial action.

The engineers have rejected a pay offer of 10.1 per cent from National Express, which made £15.8 million in profits during the first half of 2022. With the real rate of inflation, RPI, at 13.4 per cent, this is a pay cut.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Despite its healthy profits, National Express expects the people who generated its cash stockpile to accept de-facto pay cuts. National Express needs to improve their unacceptable pay offer. National Express’ West Midlands engineers have their union’s full backing in striking.”

The strikes will severely affect National Express services in Birmingham, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Coventry, West Bromwich and elsewhere. Dates for the industrial action will be announced in the coming weeks.

The impact of the strikes will worsen if drivers, who have rejected an eight per cent pay offer, also vote for industrial action.

Unite regional officer Sulinder Singh added, “The significant disruption that will be caused to passengers is entirely the fault of National Express’ greed. That disruption will only intensify if drivers also strike. The company needs to get round the negotiating table and put forward an offer our members can accept.”

By Ryan Fletcher