‘Overwhelmingly rejected’ - Arriva bus strikes continue as drivers dismiss latest pay offer

More than three-quarters of union members voted to continue with industrial action.

The Arriva bus strike that has brought Merseyside services to a standstill for nearly a month is set to continue after the latest pay offer was rejected.

GMB and Unite Union members working at Arriva North West have been on strike since July 20, and do not plan to return to work until all parties agree on pay rises for workers.

Union members strike at Arriva’s Green Lane depot. Image: LTV

There was hope that the industrial action would end this week after the bus company made an ‘improved offer’ on Friday, which was put to a union ballot on Monday and Tuesday.

However, Unite said drivers had ‘overwhelmingly’ voted to reject the deal and continue with strike action.

What Unite and GMB say about pay offer

Unite’s regional officer Neil Clarke said: “Strikes will continue until Arriva tables an offer our members can accept.

“Unite’s members at Arriva North West have overwhelmingly rejected the pay offer put forward by the company.”

Arriva had previously refused to increase their pay deal of 8.5% - which is 0.9% below inflation - but improved their latest offer enough to be put to a ballot of union members.

The GMB said the new pay increase offer was 9.6%, but regional organiser George Patterson told BBC News: “We need something better from Arriva.

“Bus drivers need to know that they’ll be able to cover their bills. Working people are facing the worst cost of living crisis for a generation. These drivers are fighting for a fair pay rise to help them through it.”

What Arriva North West say

Union members were reportedly offered £14.80 an hour but are demanding £15 for bus workers.

Arriva said: “We are incredibly disappointed that Unite and GMB members have voted not to accept our latest pay offer, inflicting yet further disruption and misery on our customers in the North West.

“Following the rejection of our latest pay offer today we agreed to meet the Union’s pay demand in an attempt to end this strike action. The Unions responded by significantly increasing their pay demand for the second time in this process. This brings into question their intentions.

“The Unions are fully aware of the financial implications we face and the implications for our customers and local bus networks across the North West. We will continue to do all we can to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible.”