South London facing bus turmoil as Arriva drivers ballot for strikes over pay
- Friday 7 July 2023
Bus users in South London are facing turmoil later this summer, if drivers employed by Arriva take strike action in a dispute over pay.
Drivers balloted for industrial action
Over 1,000 bus drivers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, have rejected an offer worth around 7.3 per cent, as this amounted to a real terms pay cut, with the true inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at 11.3 per cent.
The drivers who are based at depots in Brixton, Norwood, South Croydon and Thornton Heath began balloting this week and the ballot will close on Wednesday 2 August. If the workers vote for strikes then industrial action could begin by the middle of next month.
Real terms pay cut
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members are not going to accept a real terms pay cut, from a company that could and should make a fair pay offer. Arriva is an incredibly wealthy company that has taken millions out of the UK economy. It can fully afford to make an offer that meets our members’ expectations, but it has chosen not to.
“Unite’s primary focus is on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and it will ensure that our members receive the union’s total support.”
Arriva is owned by Deutsche Bahn, one of the largest transport companies in the world and which is effectively owned by the German government. During the last 10 years, Arriva’s UK bus division has paid £560 million to Deutsche Bahn in Germany in profit transfers.
Over the last decade, Deutsche Bahn has paid dividends of £5 billion to the German government.
Unite regional officer Steve Stockwell said: “Strike action will inevitably cause major disruption in South London and across the capital but this dispute is entirely of Arriva’s own making, it has had every chance to make its workers a fair pay offer, but has declined to do so.”
Meanwhile in a separate dispute, Arriva bus drivers in North London, have resolved their dispute after accepting an improved offer.
Notes to editors
For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.
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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.