Unite media release

For immediate release: Wednesday 23 November 2022

827% increase in strike action drives up pay for Unite bus workers across the UK

Unite’s new fight for jobs, pay and conditions is delivering wins in disputes in the bus industry;

Tens of thousands of bus workers take industrial action for more pay in their pockets

Tens of thousands of bus workers have led the way in driving up pay and conditions as a ‘new unionism’ sweeps the transport industries across the UK. Sharon Graham’s emphasis on jobs, pay and conditions has resulted in wages hikes across the bus Combine.

In 2019 there were 11 bus strikes, but since Sharon Graham became Unite General Secretary and introduced the Bus Combine there have been 102 passenger transport disputes involving tens of thousands of workers. 

Sharon Graham said “Unite is now turning towards what it says on the trade union tin - fighting for jobs, pay and conditions. That is now beginning to deliver for our members in dispute after dispute. Looks like we’ve rung the bell on the buses”.

The new Bus Combine brings Unite reps together from across the industry to coordinate their fight to raise pay and conditions. This includes coordinating pay campaigns and the setting of new standards on common issues. For example, we’ve set a new model agreement about maximum and minimum temperatures in drivers’ cabs which wasn’t there before.

  • Strikes by more than 250 Stagecoach workers in Hull ended this month after the workers accepted a two-year pay deal worth 20 per cent.

  • In August after 29 days of industrial action, over 2000 Arriva North West members voted to accept pay deal worth £2900 a year.

  • Planned strike action by bus drivers employed by Arriva in North London was called off in September after workers secured an improved pay offer of 11 per cent.

  • Last month a long running dispute involving 480 Bus workers employed by Arriva in Kent secured a 13.92 per cent pay increase.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham added: “From a 20% pay increase in Hull to a 14% hike in Kent, and much more, bus workers have led the way, setting new standards for pay and raising the rate for the job.

“Union solidarity delivers results as bus workers have been winning along with transport workers across the UK  - winning more pay and winning better conditions in their workplaces.”

Elsewhere in the transport sector, Unite secured thousands of British Airways staff an average 13% pay rise after Unite backed industrial action for check-in staff.

An inflation-busting deal was a victorious end to the strike action of 560 dockers at the Port of Liverpool in November. After weeks of strike action the 600 dockers won pay hikes between 14 per cent and 18 per cent plus.

Sharon Graham said: “We’ve won on wages, we’ve won on conditions, we’ve won on standards. From working hours to working in extreme temperatures, Unite’s commitment to take our union back to the workplace is paying off.”


Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315 

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion

Web: unitetheunion.org

Notes to editors: 

Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.