Bus drivers due to strike after “1p an hour pay rise” offer

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Pic: Micolo J Thanx 4 cc

Bus drivers at Arriva’s Wythenshawe depot will walk out on Monday (Nov 20) after pay talks with unions collapsed on Friday.

No Arriva buses will be running in Manchester after the company’s final pay offer, was rejected as an insult by trade unions, Unite and the GMB.

The unions, which will stage nine days of strike action in the run up to Christmas, said the pay rise offered by Arriva bosses amounts to 1p an hour for drivers.

Unite regional officer John Boughton, said: “This below inflation final offer is an insult to Arriva employees, to the people in the communities in which Arriva operates and to businesses which will be affected by further strike action.

“This offer shows the contempt for workers who are fighting to stop their pay being eroded by the impact of inflation. The company has made a cynical decision to put more profit before the needs of the communities it serves.

“The latest offer was insulting and very demeaning from a company owned by the German transport giant Deutsche Bahn AG with huge financial resources. The unions believe the pay claim is affordable given the high profitability of Arriva North West.

“To put it into context, the highest paid director in Arriva North West has more money put into his pension each year than the average pay of a bus worker in the north west region.

“The announcement of nine new strike dates in the run-up to Christmas will be inconvenient for the travelling public, but our members are reluctantly taking this action as they have hit a brick wall with an intransigent management.

“We want an ‘equitable pay award’ across the company and for Arriva to tackle wage inequalities of up to £1.73 an hour between depots, as
our members are struggling generally with the constant rising cost of living.

“The bosses know what would settle this dispute, and it’s not a king’s ransom as this company makes huge profits. All our members want is a fair share of the profits they help generate by their dedicated work in all weathers.”

Arriva bosses apologised for the inconvenience caused by the strikes, which will also take place on November 27, December 4, 7, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22 and 23.

In a statement released on Friday, Phil Stone, Regional Managing Director for Arriva North West, said: “Arriva tabled a further improved and final offer for our drivers at a meeting with UNITE and GMB today. We have listened to the Union and responded positively by offering a one year pay deal that ensures the hourly rates of all our drivers remains highly competitive within the industry.

“The offer for Merseyside is 2.6% rising to 3% after 6 months. This is now the fourth improved pay offer that Arriva has made since commencement of the strike action. It is a fair pay deal for our drivers, and one that importantly ensures the long-term sustainability of the business going forward.

“In the interests of our drivers and our customers, we have recommended that the union undertakes a confidential postal ballot for the membership facilitated by ACAS, the costs of which Arriva will cover. But the Union have declined this, and have confirmed they will be doing a consultative ballot at each garage next week.”

 

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