More than 3,100 West Midlands National Express drivers voted to accept an improved pay offer, ending bus strikes in the region.
The offer included a one-year 16.2% pay increase and improvements to accident pay and hourly rates when working over the Christmas holidays. According to trade union Unite, National Express also guaranteed it would implement the new terms and conditions agreed in November last year.
Currently, a National Express driver’s starting salary begins at £11.80 an hour, rising to just above £14 after three years of service. In comparison, Unite reported that Abellio staff in London were paid £18 an hour after two years of service.
The National Express drivers were balloted on the new deal last week, after 71% voted to decline the previous offer and went on strike on 20 March. A total of 93% voted to strike earlier this year.
A National Express West Midlands spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the drivers have voted in favour of accepting the offer. We apologise to our customers and the communities we serve for the significant disruption and inconvenience this has caused over the last few weeks. We are pleased to be able to put this behind us and focus on delivering a bus service that customers can rely on.”
Sharon Graham, general secretary at Unite, added: “This is an important win for Unite members. By standing together our members at National Express secured an above inflation pay offer. Unite will leave no stone unturned to defend workers’ pay. This is yet another example of how Unite’s relentless focus on improving jobs, pay and conditions results in real ‘money in the pockets’ of our members.”
Onay Kasab, lead national officer at Unite, added: “We congratulate every one of our members for making this stand and winning. Unite will continue to work, through our Bus Combine, to win double digit pay increases for our members.”
More than 200 National Express engineers voted last week to accept a separate pay deal, with around 250 admin staff also set to benefit.