Nearly 4,000 workers poised to strike after firm bringing in billions offers ‘pay cut’

More than 3,000 National Express West Midlands bus drivers and over 250 office staff are to begin balloting for strike action over pay in the coming days. 

If the workers vote in favour of strikes, they will join around 200 National Express engineers who are also ready to take industrial action following a successful strike ballot.

National Express reported revenues of £2.2 billion and EBITDA (used to measure profitability) of £300 million in 2021. 

Despite this, it has offered all of its workers in the West Midlands, where it holds a monopoly on local bus services, a real terms pay cut. Some drivers earn as little as £11.80 per hour, while the majority of admin staff make little more than the minimum wage. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “National Express brings in huge amounts of money while its workers are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. It can afford to pay for a decent wage for its workers and that is exactly what it needs to do. 

“Unite defends our members' jobs, pay and conditions to the hilt and National Express West Midlands’ workforce have the union’s complete support as they fight for a fair pay rise.”

National Express claims it has offered drivers a 14 per cent rise, however it is in fact worth just eight per cent. Admin staff have been offered nothing and the engineers have been offered 10 per cent. With the real rate of inflation, RPI, at 13.4 per cent, all the offers constitute a pay cut.

The ballot for strike action opens on 8 February and closes 1 March, with strikes likely to begin later that month. 

Any strikes would severely impact National Express West Midlands’ services, which cover 93 per cent of the region’s bus network, including in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry.

Unite regional officer Sulinder Singh said: “The disruption to passengers across the region would be immense and entirely the fault of National Express’ greed. It needs to put forward a pay rise our members can accept – it is certainly has the resources to do so.”  


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.