The bus operators are set to call off strikes after improved pay offer
Trade union Unite has announced that bus operators Arriva North West will suspend its ongoing, company-wide strikes following an improved pay offer of 11.1 per cent. This comes following a 96 per cent vote in favour of industrial action with a 72 per cent turnout in July this year.
The strike is so far suspended pending the outcome of the ballot, and the staff will return to work to serve the needs of the community and the public
After around 1,800 workers began to strike on Wednesday 20 July, the Arriva North West staff will supposedly return to work from tomorrow, and a ballot will be conducted over the next few days with regards to the increased payment offer.
Results of the ballot will be announced on Friday afternoon with the pay increase applying to more than 2,000 Unite members across Birkenhead, Bolton, Bootle, Liverpool, Macclesfield, Manchester, Runcorn, Southport, Speke, St Helens and Winsford.
The strike is so far suspended pending the outcome of the ballot, and the staff will return to work to “serve the needs of the community and the public” whilst awaiting a final announcement. The initial strikes arose due to members having “had enough, after going that extra mile during COVID - working through the dangers of the pandemic, and now getting a scant reward.”
Drivers In Wisford, for example, are currently paid just over £11 an hour, and the initial proposed pay increase was deemed “pitiful” with reductions in sick pay and loss of Saturday enhanced pay.
Unite regional officer, Dave Roberts, has announced, “Following our members’ very strong rejection of the company’s offer yesterday evening, Arriva have seen sense and met the demands of our members by tabling an 11.1 per cent pay deal. Unite’s negotiating team is recommending the offer be accepted and it is being put to members in a vote.”
Industrial action will be suspended whilst members vote on this new deal, and if accepted, the strikes will be over in all affected areas. Arriva North West has also published an update on their website this afternoon, stating, “Arriva North West is today able to confirm that, following ongoing discussions in recent weeks, all parties have come to an agreement on an unprecedented pay deal for Arriva North West drivers”.
It has also been confirmed that industrial action affecting areas across Cheshire, Lancashire, Manchester and Merseyside will be suspended from 3am on Thursday 18 August. Arriva concluded, “we would like to thank our customers across the North West region for your continued patience in recent weeks, during the extremely challenging national strike period”.
Timetabling and journey info for Arriva North West services will be returning on Thursday 18 August. More information on the strikes can be found in our previous instalments from earlier this summer.
In other breaking bus news, Andy Burnham's new lower bus fares in Manchester have been given the green light, with adults now paying no more than £2 for any single bus journey and children paying £1.