Around 900 bus workers at German-owned giant to strike over ‘pay cut dressed up as a 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 ‘strings attached’ pay deal.

Arriva is offering drivers, admin staff, engineers, cleaners and shunters pay rises of between four per cent and six per cent. With the real rate of inflation, RPI, running at 11.8 per cent, Unite says this is a real terms pay cut.

Furthermore, tied to the pay offer for drivers is a reduction of 16.6 per cent in overtime rates and an end to paid time for compulsory duties outside of driving, such as travelling to a bus stop to pick up a bus mid-route. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Arriva must improve this pay cut dressed up as a rise. It is a particularly bad deal for drivers because it has strings attached that will actually drive down their wages even further.

“I have been very clear that our members’ jobs, pay and conditions are Unite’s top priority. We will not let employers, such as Arriva and its owner Deutsche Bahn, who can afford to pay but refuse to do so, off the hook. Unless a better offer is put forward strikes will go ahead.” 

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.

Strikes would be taken by staff at Arriva’s depots in Luton, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Milton Keynes, Ware, Stevenage and Hemel Hempstead. They would severely impact bus services within, to and from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. 

Unite regional officer Jeff Hodge said: “Strikes will cause severe disruption across the region. This will be entirely Arriva’s fault for offering a pay cut disguised as a rise while our members’ are struggling with the cost of living crisis. Arriva must come back with 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 Kent and Essex, as well as North London, are also being balloted for strike action.


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.