Arriva North West bus drivers and engineering employees are planning a further 10 24-hour strikes in their continued dispute over pay.
More than 2,000 members of trade unions Unite and GMB, who work across 11 depots, will continue with industrial action with the next strike scheduled for Monday 27 November.
The dispute regards pay disparity between depots with Unite is seeking equitable pay across all depots. According to the union, Arriva’s latest pay deal offered staff an additional 1p per hour, which was rejected by 83% of the workforce on an 85% turnout.
Monday’s industrial action will be followed by a further nine planned strikes, scheduled for 4, 7, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22 and 23 December 2017 and will affect the Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire or Cheshire areas.
Phil Stone, managing director at Arriva North West, said: “We are deeply disappointed that people in Merseyside and the wider North West are facing yet more disruption in the run-up to Christmas.
“Arriva North West has proposed a fair and competitive pay rise to staff: 2.6% rising to 3% for the six garages in Merseyside and Runcorn. The offer follows years of consecutive pay rises above inflation at a time of significant pay restraint across other industries in the region. To put this into context, we have increased pay for our drivers by 10.2% over four years. This latest pay offer will mean an average driver will earn an additional £756 per annum.
“We, therefore, urge the union to reconsider resolving this dispute by carrying out a confidential postal ballot, including the 250 engineering staff not previously included in the ballot ofr the new pay offer.
“We also strongly suggest, in the interests of staff and passengers, of returning to ACAS to act as the mediator going forward.”
Eddie Parker, organiser at the GMB, added: “It comes as no surprise GMB and Unite members voted to reject this offer by an overwhelming majority. A pay increase of just 1p per hour is nothing more than a kick in the teeth to our hard-working members who keep the North West moving every day.”
John Boughton, regional organiser at Unite, said: “Unite warned Arriva’s management last week that an offer of a penny an hour, which is not even enough to buy a tin of beans after an entire week’s work, would not end this dispute.
“Unite deplores the despicable way that the [organisation] is trying to garner public support through the press, by publishing drivers’ pay terms and conditions completely out of context. Drivers are on different rates and terms and conditions.
“The highest-paid director at Arriva has more paid into his pension per annum than the average north-west bus driver gets paid in the year.”