Bus passengers across Merseyside face three days of travel chaos this month after employees at Arriva North West and Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire revealed they would both strike at the same time.
UPDATE at 22:30 on 12/10/2017: Following positive talks with the trade union, Stagecoach has confirmed that the strikes due to affect Liverpool services on Saturday 14th & Thursday 19th October have been cancelled. A revised pay offer has been taken back to the members for a ballot.
UPDATE at 18:25 on 17/10/2017: Arriva North West has announced that during the strike, no Arriva bus services will operate within Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire or Cheshire. Services operated by Arriva Buses Wales are unaffected, meaning that services running out of Chester depot will continue to operate as normal.
Arriva customers with pre-paid tickets (i.e. Weekly, Annual, Student etc.) travelling in Merseyside will be able to use them on the Merseyrail network on strike days. See the latest updates from Arriva North West by clicking here.
Engineers and drivers at Stagecoach’s Gillmoss depot in Liverpool have confirmed they would walk out for four days this month, starting on Saturday 14th October, in a row over pay.
Trade unions Unite and GMB have now confirmed that their members at Arriva North West will strike on three of the same days as Stagecoach staff – on Thursday 19th October, Monday 23rd October and Monday 30th October.
Unless the dispute is resolved, the vast majority of Liverpool’s buses won’t run on those days. In the wider region, Stagecoach buses would still run in Wirral and Cheshire, but many, if not all of Arriva’s buses would face cancellation.
It is the latest development in what has been a tough month for local commuters. The RMT union has also held two days of strike action on Merseyrail, as the row over guards’ roles on trains continues, and is likely to announce more action in the near future.
Phil Stone, Regional Managing Director has said: “We can confirm that UNITE and GMB have balloted for strike action over pay. The potential strike dates have been confirmed as 19th, 23rd and 30th October 2017.
“However there is a further meeting planned next week with our union colleagues to have further dialogue over the outcome of this vote and to try and reach an agreement that benefits everybody.”
Stagecoach Merseyside Managing Director Rob Jones has said: “We will be meeting our commitments to police and other partners to provide as many services as we can to the Liverpool/Manchester United football match, in the knowledge that most people travelling on our wider network will be able to use services provided by other operators as an alternative.
“As such, the main services on Saturday will be covering the 917 and 20/21 routes and these may be subject to delays at busy times.
“The union’s demands during the latest round of negotiations were completely unrealistic and we are very disappointed that they have chosen this course of action, which is not in the best interests of our employees or our customers. We believe the offers we have made are fair and reasonable.”
He added: “I would like to reassure all customers that we are doing all we can to ensure that if this further strike action does go ahead, we will be in a position to draft in extra resource and run more services and do what we can to minimise the impact on passengers who rely on our services.”1 comment