Research by Unite, the UK’s leading union, has discovered that Arriva’s German parent company, Deutsche Bahn, is raking in huge profits off the back of the hard work of UK bus workers, including those at Arriva North West.

The research also exposed a spiral of declining wages for workers at Arriva North West who have been on all out continuous strike since Wednesday 20 July.

Offshore profits

In the last 10 years a total of £560 million has been paid in dividends from Arriva’s UK bus division to the parent company Deutsche Bahn. During that time bus workers in Arriva North West have contributed an estimated £60 million to the company’s bonanza profits.

Despite this bus drivers have suffered real terms pay cuts. Since 2017 the pay of bus drivers in the North West has declined by two per cent in real terms when compared to inflation.

Staggering research 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This research is staggering and raises huge questions. Rather than invest in its own workforce Arriva has been milking profits and offshoring them to Germany. All the while the real pay of workers at Arriva North West is on a downward spiral. You could not make it up.

“This research will redouble the commitment of our members employed by Arriva in the North West to secure a decent pay increase and Unite will provide them with its full support until this dispute is resolved and a fair pay rise secured.”

Ongoing strikes 

The current strike over pay which began last month involves 1,800 members of Unite who are employed in bus garages across the North West including in Liverpool and Manchester.

Deutsche Bahn is one of the largest transport companies in the world and is effectively owned by the German government. Deutsche Bahn is extremely profitable and has paid dividends of £5 billion to the German government over the last decade.

Since the pandemic began UK bus companies including Arriva have received considerable financial support from the UK government. With Arriva continuing to record profits, Unite asks whether UK taxpayers money has actually - through offshoring - found its way into the German government’s coffers?

Eroding pay

Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: “Arriva has been exposed for eroding workers’ pay in the North West while paying dividends abroad. Our members are demanding that this pay erosion is reversed and a decent pay rise is made for the current year.” 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

  • Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.