Around 800 bus workers at German-owned giant to strike over ‘pay cut presented as rise’

Staff voted to strike after Arriva, whose UK bus division has paid a total of £560 million to parent company Deutsche Bahn during the last ten years, offered a 7.8 per cent pay increase. 

This is a substantial pay cut with the real inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at 12.3 per cent. The bus drivers earn as little as £12.12 an hour.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Offering a pay cut presented as a rise is completely unacceptable. Arriva can well afford to return with a better deal and needs to do so. Unite will not stand for employers, such as Arriva and Deutsche Bahn, driving down our members’ jobs, pay and conditions so they can keep raking in profits during a cost-of-living crisis.” 

The striking drivers are based at depots in Colchester, Harlow and Southend-on-Sea in Essex and in Gillingham, Maidstone, Gravesend and Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Dates for the strikes have not yet been set.

Deutsche Bahn is one of the largest transport companies in the world and is effectively owned by the German government. 

Even though Deutsche Bahn is extremely profitable, paying dividends of £5 billion to the German government over the last decade, notices have gone up in the workers’ depots claiming Arriva is running at a loss. 

Unite regional officer Janet Nobbs said: “Our members aren’t fooled by Arriva’s claims that it has no money. It has paid nearly a half a billion pounds from the UK to Deutsche Bahn over the last decade. Arriva’s workers are increasingly struggling with rising prices – why should they suffer when Deutsche Bahn's coffers are overflowing? Arriva needs to put forward an offer our members can accept.” 

Unite is currently involved in a continuous all out strike of Arriva members in the North West. The union’s Arriva members in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire have also voted for strike action, while an industrial action ballot of Arriva workers in North London closes on 26 August. 


For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: [email protected] 

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.