Passengers face disruption misery as bus drivers strike over ‘poverty pay’
Drivers for Arriva Buses Wales are expected to strike from 06:00 on Sunday 14 November in industrial action which may continue for five weeks.
The action will hit bus services in North Wales and Chester and journey planning in the Wales region on the Arriva website and Arriva UK Bus App will be disabled after talks to tackle ‘poverty pay’ have failed to make ‘meaningful’ progress.
The strike follows a ballot of Arriva drivers where 95 per cent of them voted in favour of the industrial action.
In a statement last night the Unite Union said: “Following further talks with ACAS & Arriva Buses Wales today, the company have failed to present a meaningful offer so strike action will begin this Sunday as planned.
“Our members are prepared to fight for the fair wage that they deserve & will have our full support.”
“Welsh workers were offered a 0.29p an hour increase whilst Arriva workers over the border in the North West of England have been offered 0.39p. In addition to this the current pay differential between Welsh and Northwest Arriva drivers is £1.81 an hour. Despite talks taking place over recent days Arriva’s intransigence has left workers with no choice but to commence their planned strike action this Sunday.
“Four hundred Unite members working at depots including Amlwch, Bangor, Hawarden (Chester), Llandudno, Rhyl and Wrexham, will strike continuously from 06:00 on Sunday 14 November 2021 until 01:00 on Sunday 19 December.”
A spokesperson for Arriva Buses Wales commented: “We are extremely disappointed that despite extensive discussions and a number of improved offers, which would have increased our driver pay to £11.59 per hour back-paid to January 2021 and a further increase to £12.00 per hour in 2022, our customers are still facing a strike this Sunday with no Arriva Buses Wales services able to run if it goes ahead.
“We have worked tirelessly to avoid this strike, which is why we have consistently come up with new offers, while the trade unions have refused to negotiate. Both parties have now agreed to mediation through ACAS and while this is a welcome step, we would urge Unite to immediately call off the strike this Sunday to give mediation a chance to move us forward without causing disruption to customers and the communities we serve.
“Arriva prides itself on being a great employer which is why our drivers have received continuous year-on year wage increases going back to 2008. It is also the reason we pay higher wages than any other bus company in Wales and why we remain committed to finding a way forward.”
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “Arriva Cymru have chosen not to offer their loyal Welsh workforce the pay offer they deserve. Their failure to tackle poverty pay will now result in severe disruption to bus services and the people of North Wales. Our members are united, and they will receive the full backing of Unite over the next five weeks of strike action.”
Jo Goodchild, Unite Regional Officer commented: “Arriva Cymru have completely misjudged the level of anger there is amongst its workforce. Welsh workers are not willing to accept inferior terms and conditions to their colleagues in other parts of the UK. The company have wasted the opportunity to see sense and offer Welsh workers a deal comparable to its operations in the rest of the UK that begins to tackle poverty pay rates.
“Our members resolve is very strong and we expect this strike to be rock solid, Arriva must recognise that they are in for a long fight. The blame for the huge disruption this strike will cause lies firmly and squarely at the door of Arriva Cymru.”
Bus services across North Wales will now face severe disruption as all planned Arriva bus services operating within North Wales and Chester will not operate, with exceptions for Arriva Midlands services 2, 2A and 2C in Wrexham and Arriva Northwest services 84 and X30 into Chester.
Arriva urges all customers to check one of the following for updates before travelling:
Arriva on Twitter @arrivabuswales and Facebook @arrivabuseswales for further information about the services relating to the strike dates.
Phone enquiries about local bus service and tickets to Arriva customer services on 0344 800 44 11.
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