Arriva North East drivers reject pay offer – strike to go ahead

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Around 650 Arriva North East drivers will strike from 6 to 12 January, after they rejected a recent pay offer from the operator.

The plans were announced shortly before CBW went to press. Based at Darlington, Durham, Redcar, Stockton and Whitby, 72% of the drivers voted to reject Arriva’s pay offer.

Included in the offer was an additional 75p on the hourly rate over two years in four instalments. The drivers are seeking an increase of £1 per hour on the rates for the year starting March 2018.

The offer was made on 15 December, and resulted in the previous planned strike – which was due to go ahead on 16 December – being suspended while drivers voted on the proposals.

According to the Unite union, the “crux of the dispute was the belief that bus drivers working for Arriva Durham County Ltd were the second lowest-paid drivers of all the Arriva bus companies across the UK.”

Unite Regional Officer Bob Bolam said: “The revised offer failed to bridge that pay gap and our members can’t endure this glaring pay inequality – the ball is now very much in the management’s court.

“However, we appreciate the great inconvenience that the strike will cause to the travelling public in early January and, because of that, Unite is ready to hold constructive talks over the holiday period.”

Nigel Featham, Head of Arriva Buses in the region, commented: “We regret Unite’s decision to call a strike in the new year.

Arriva has done everything in its power to avoid this outcome, having made considerable concessions in pay talks.

“Industrial action will achieve nothing but misery for the travelling public.

Our offer, the best made to our drivers in modern times, remains on the table.”