Arriva North West bus drivers and engineering employees are taking part in a 24-hour strike in a dispute over pay.
More than 2,000 members of trade unions Unite and GMB who work across 11 depots will take part in industrial action today (30 October 2017), forming picket lines outside all of Arriva North West’s depots.
The dispute regards pay disparity between depots. According to Unite, pay can vary by up to £1.73 an hour between locations, which could increase to £2 per hour under Arriva North West’s latest pay offer. Unite is seeking equitable pay across all depots.
Depots that are involved in or affected by strike action today include Birkenhead, Bolton, Bootle, Green Lane, Macclesfield, Runcorn, St Helens, Speke, Southport, Winsford and Wythenshaw. Today’s industrial action will be followed by a further five planned strikes, scheduled for 6, 8, 13, 20 and 27 November 2017.
Phil Stone, regional managing director at Arriva North West, said: “It is extremely disappointing that, having tabled a third improved pay offer for our drivers in a meeting with our union colleagues, Unite and GMB remain intent on continuing to cause unnecessary disruption and inconvenience to our customers. While our focus has been to reach an agreement, theirs is to come up with yet more strike dates.
“We have offered a fair deal for our drivers and one that supports the sustainability of the business. We would urge the union, yet again, to strongly reconsider the improved offer put forward and call off the strike action.”
John Boughton, regional officer at Unite, added: “It is very disappointing that talks broke down, especially given that Arriva is owned by the German transport giant Deutsche Bahn and has huge financial resources.
“[Employees] are fed up with this continuing diet of inadequate pay offers when the [organisation] makes handsome profits, yet our members struggle to make ends meet as wages lag behind rising inflation.
“We appreciate that these strikes will cause disruption to the travelling public, but the ball is very much in the [organisation’s] court. [It has] the financial clout to settle this dispute at the stroke of a pen.”
Eddie Parker, regional secretary at GMB, said: “GMB’s hard working Arriva members just want a fair deal, like everybody else. The final pay [offer] made by the [organisation] represents an increase between 1.6% and 2.6%. Inflation [has] hit 3%, so this is, in effect, a real terms pay cut for members. No one wants to go on strike and our members are taking industrial action as a last resort.”