Passengers in Kent are braced for further disruption next week after bus company Arriva failed to grasp the nettle and make an improved pay offer, in the dispute over pay.

Six hundred bus drivers who are employed by Arriva and based in Kent will take strike action on Friday 30 September. The strike action will cause disruption throughout the county.

Pay erosion

The workers are seeking a pay rise in line with the current real inflation rate (RPI) of 12.3 per cent, following years of seeing their pay eroded in real terms.

The drivers took an initial day of strike action on Monday 5 September. Further strike action scheduled for 16 and 20 September was called off as a mark of respect to the queen.

Fair pay needed

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Arriva and its German parent company Deutsche Bahn are fully able to provide the workers’ with a fair pay rise but have chosen not to do so.

“Unite is solely focussed on defending the jobs, pay and conditions of its members. Our members working for Arriva in Kent will receive the union’s total support.”

Kent strikes

The drivers operate from depots in Gillingham, Gravesend, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.

Despite Arriva claiming it is suffering losses the UK bus division and the parent company are both extremely profitable. Arriva is owned by Deutsche Bahn, one of the largest global transport companies. In the last 10 years Arriva’s UK bus division has paid £560 million in profits to Deutsche Bahn

Deutsche Bahn is effectively owned by the German government and has paid dividends of £5 billion to the government in the last decade.

Further disruption

Unite regional officer Janet Nobbs said: “Fresh bus strikes will inevitably cause further turmoil for passengers throughout Kent but this dispute is entirely of Arriva’s own making.

“Arriva has had every opportunity to return to negotiations and make an improved offer but it has failed even to contact Unite, to seek a resolution to the dispute.”


Notes to editors

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

Email: [email protected]

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.