Pay talks to avert more bus strikes in the north west broke up today (Friday 17 November), after the bosses offered an ‘insulting’ one penny extra an hour to the hourly rate, Unite, the country’s largest union, said.
Talks were held as more than 2,000 bus drivers and engineering staff working for Arriva North West are set to hold nine days of strike action in the run-up to Christmas.
Unite said that the management had today offered an additional one penny per hour on its previous offer. The union will ballot its members next week on the latest offer, with the strong recommendation to reject.
Unite members at 11 depots across the north west will walk out during their shifts on 4,7,12,13,14,20,21,22 and 23 December. Strikes for Monday (20 November) and 27 November have already been announced.
The company presented its final offer with conditions attached which were completely unacceptable to the Unite and GMB trade unions.
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."
The Arriva bus depots affected are: Birkenhead, Bolton, Bootle, Green Lane (Stoneycroft), Macclesfield, Runcorn, St. Helens, Speke, Southport, Winsford and Wythenshaw.
Picket lines will be assembling outside of all Arriva North West depots on the strike days.
Notes to editors:
For further information please contact Unite regional officer John Boughton, on 07970 094589 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.