Arriva bus strike to continue after union rejects latest pay offer

A North West-wide bus strike that began three weeks ago is to continue after union leaders rejected an improved pay offer.

More than 1,800 Arriva bus workers walked out of depots in Manchester and Merseyside on July 20, in protest over pay negotiations.

It followed three months of talks.

The company offered 8.5%, which the GMB union said would not meet inflation rates.

Since then, bus services have halted, and workers have manned picket lines at bus depots around the region.

Today, GMB leaders announced that Arriva bosses had tabled an improved pay offer, but said it added “just 0.4%” to the initial offer,

It said negotiations have now broken down, after “trifling offers from the transport giant”.

GMB said the company only offered an 8.9% rise, when the initial rejected offer was 8.5%, and a non-consolidated £250 one-off bonus.

George Patterson, GMB regional organiser, said: “Working people are facing the worst cost of living crisis for a generation. A real terms pay cut will not cut it.

“We need to see serious shifts from Arriva or bus drivers will have no choice but to strike.

“We approached these negotiations in good faith. Trifling offers from Arriva simply aren’t good enough.”

GMB said some pay offers from Arriva have been ‘self-funded’ – meaning workers would have to sacrifice other terms to pay for them, ad none has met RPI inflation rates.

The union revealed that 96% of its members voted for strike action over the company’s offers.

No-one from Arriva was available for comment, but a statement posted on the company website on August 5, read: “Despite further negotiations today and having done all we can to make another improved offer, the unions have once again chosen to walk away, causing further misery for our passengers.

“At this point, we are left questioning why they refuse to give their members the opportunity to vote on our offers, which would make our drivers the highest paid in the region.”

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