Arriva Bus Passengers to Be Further Inconvenienced as Latest Pay Talks Fail

Arriva Bus Passengers to Be Further Inconvenienced as Latest Pay Talks Fail
Workers at Arriva North West's Bootle Depot cast an unanimous vote to reject the latest offer.Unite the Union

Arriva bus passengers in the North West are set for further disruption to their services after talks over ‘inadequate’ pay rates broke down between Unite and GMB unions and the company again last week. 

Arriva North West has confirmed that the planned 24-hour industrial action for Monday 13th and 20th November will go ahead. During these times there will be no planned Arriva bus services operating within Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire or Cheshire, except for services running out of Chester depot and services into Chester from Wrexham and Rhyl.

Over 2,000 bus drivers and engineering staff working for Arriva North West across 11 depots, will strike again on Monday 13th and 20th November.

These will be followed by further one-day strikes on Monday 4th, Thursday 7th, Tuesday 12th, Wednesday 13th, Thursday 14th, Wednesday 20th, Thursday 21st, Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd December 2017.

The Arriva North West bus depots affected are Birkenhead, Bolton, Bootle, Green Lane, Macclesfield, Runcorn, St Helens, Speke, Southport, Winsford and Wythenshawe.

Mayor Joe Anderson has warned Arriva bus bosses that he “won’t forget” how the company has acted – and urged bosses to resolve a pay row before Monday’s next planned strike.

This follows on from when Mayor Anderson publicly backed bus drivers and staff in their continued dispute earlier this week. He also shot a warning at Arriva bosses, hinting that how they choose to act will be remembered in the future when it comes to negotiating future deals surrounding transport in the region.

On a lighter note, passengers with Arriva pre-paid tickets travelling in Merseyside on Monday 20th November will be able to use them on the Merseyrail network, and throughout the North West on corresponding Northern Rail routes. In addition to this, Arriva tickets will continue to be accepted on Stagecoach Quality Network Routes in Merseyside.

Phil Stone, Regional Managing Director for Arriva North West: “Arriva tabled an improved offer for our drivers at last Tuesday’s meeting with UNITE and GMB.  We are still awaiting the results of UNITE and GMB’s ballot to its members on this improved pay offer.  It is disappointing therefore that UNITE and GMB have announced further unnecessary strike dates without first confirming the outcome of the ballot and allowing Arriva to respond.

“We are, as ever, keen to meet with the UNITE and GMB to resolve the pay dispute and have requested a further meeting with them this Thursday to put an end to the disruption and inconvenience caused to our customers through strike action.  As we have said before,  any pay offer has to be sustainable for the business going forward and we believe we have put forward a fair pay deal for our drivers.

“Our customers are understandably growing weary of the travel disruption, and we sincerely apologise to them for the inconvenience caused by the continued strike action.”

The fresh strike dates follow similar industrial action in October and throughout November and will be preceded by previously announced walk-outs on 20th and 27th November.

Tom Harrison

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