Arriva bus strike mooted in Greater Manchester as union ballots workers in pay row

Depots in Manchester and Bolton are both in the dispute but the company has said it is working to prevent walk-outs.

Greater Manchester is facing the prospect of a bus strike as a trade union ballots workers at a major transport operator in the city-region for industrial action in a ballot over pay,

Unite is balloting its members at Arriva, which it says has offered employees a “pitifully low” wage increase at a time when the cost of living is rising rapidly.

If workers choose to go on strike over pay the disruption to bus services across Greater Manchester could be considerable.

In a brief statement the company said it was committed to working to avoid strike action.

Arriva Yorkshire has had to cancel all its bus services across West Yorkshire because of indefinite strike action starting today.

What is the dispute about?

Unite says workers at Arriva have been offered a choice of a maximum pay increase of 3% with no conditions attached or a 6% increase which includes reductions in sick pay and the loss of extra pay for working on Saturdays.

Both offers, the trade union says, are far below the current real inflation rate (RPI) of 11.1 %.

The depots in Manchester and Bolton are both in the dispute, which in total includes more than 1,800 trade union members at Arriva working at centres across the North West.

Balloting runs from Monday 20 June to Monday 4 July.

If workers decide on industrial action then strikes could begin later in July.

The union says Arriva is already under pressure from strike action taking place in Yorkshire.

What has the union said?

Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: “Strike action would result in considerable disruption for passengers throughout the North West but this dispute is entirely of Arriva’s own making.

“Despite extensive negotiations it has failed to make an offer which is anywhere close to our members’ expectations.

“Even at this late stage strike action could still be avoided if Arriva returns to the negotiating table and makes a realistic pay offer.”

The trade union’s general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Arriva needs to get serious and make our members a realistic pay offer. Arriva can full afford to pay our members a fair rate of pay but it is choosing not to do so to boost its profits.

“Unite is totally committed to defending our members jobs, pay and conditions and will be giving our members at Arriva its complete support until this dispute is resolved.”

What has Arriva said?

An Arriva spokesperson said: “We are fully committed to reaching an agreement with Unite for our North West staff and talks are ongoing.”