‘Relieved it’s over’ - Arriva bus strikes called off while unions vote on new pay offer
Around 1,800 workers are returning to work as bus services return to Merseyside roads on Thursday.
Arriva North West bus strikes have been called off after the company put forward an improved pay offer this week.
The one year 11.1% pay offer, which will be backdated to April, will now be put to ballot of union members, with the result declared on Friday afternoon. Unite and GMB have advised workers to accept the deal.
The breakthrough comes after it was announced on Tuesday that more than three-quarters of drivers voted to reject the bus operator’s previous offer of 9.6%.
The industrial action has been affecting commuters throughout the region for nearly a month, but the large majority have shown support for bus workers.
‘I am supportive of them’
Jennifer said: "I do have sympathy for them and I am supportive of them. I feel as if they’re in their rights to do what they’re doing otherwise they'd just be in poverty."
‘I understand because the cost of living has gone up’
Liz said: "I understand because the cost of living has gone up and everything but that isn’t in anyone’s control. It’s not in our control, it’s not in the government's either because we’ve come through the pandemic."
‘I am relieved it’s over’
Karen said: "You don’t know what you missed until it’s gone. When you’re not driving you rely on public transport. I am relieved it’s over."
Breakthrough in pay talks
After the meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Arriva said: "Arriva North West is today able to confirm that following ongoing discussions in recent weeks, all parties have come to an agreement on an unprecedented pay deal for Arriva North West drivers."
"Following a meeting today, in which the agreement was reached, Unions will now take this recommended offer to our colleagues."
"Furthermore, it has also been agreed that industrial action across Cheshire, Lancashire, Manchester and Merseyside will be suspended from 3am on Thursday 18th August and all parties will now work together to progress the pay offer."
Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: "Unite's negotiating team is recommending the offer be accepted and it is being put to members in a vote.
"The strike is suspended pending the outcome of the ballot and drivers are to return to work to serve the needs of the community and public.
“The determination and resolve of our members has been solid throughout the industrial action and we thank those who have provided support and assistance to secure the offer from the company."
Return of bus services
Timetable and Journey information, for Arriva North West services returning on Thursday 18th August can be found online at arrivabus.co.uk and via the Arriva journey planning.