Engineers take strike action at National Express Bus

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In addition to the ongoing strike action at operators around the country as drivers seek improved pay and conditions, engineering staff at two major operators threatened strike action in early December. 96% of around 200 West Midlands National Express engineers voted to strike after the firm’s drivers were offered a what they said was a ‘much better’ deal.

The engineering staff are responsible for National Express’ fleet of over 1,200 buses, and were offered a 10.1% increase. Meanwhile the company’s drivers were offered a pay rise above RPI inflation of 14%.

Unite regional officer Sulinder Singh said: “Our engineer members are rightly angry that the pay offer to their colleagues is a much better deal. The support for strike action is such that Unite is now beginning to prepare for formal industrial action proceedings. The cost of living crisis is hitting National Express’ staff equally and the company can well afford to put forward the same offer to all its workers. Members’ jobs, pay and conditions are Unite’s top priority and the engineers at National Express will receive their union’s full support.”

Meanwhile strikes by engineers at Go North East were called off after a resolution was achieved. The operator offered a 10% pay increase to all staff in the summer, which was accepted by trade union Unite for its 1,270 drivers. The union had sought increases of between 19% and 25% for engineers.
Company Managing Director Nigel Featham said at the start of the dispute: “The company is in a loss-making position. Even so, we have been prepared to increase wages – but the 19% and 25% wage awards Unite are seeking are simply not an option. Taking strike action in these circumstances achieves nothing; we need Unite to work with us to secure everyone’s future.”

Following what it said were constructive talks, the planned strike was suspended with engineers voting on accepting a revised offer. Nigel added: “I am pleased to say that talks with Unite proved productive. We have made a fresh offer, which remains within our budgets and is one I believe all parties can confidently get behind. We were always confident that passengers would not have been impacted by the strike, but this takes away any threat of a disruption to bus services in the run up to Christmas.”