Arriva bus strikes could end this week as unions vote on improved pay offer

The new offer will be put to bus drivers and workers on Monday and Tuesday.

The ongoing Arriva bus strike that has brought Merseyside services to a standstill for nearly a month could come to an end this week.

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.

But in a statement received by LiverpoolWorld, the bus operator revealed it had made an improved pay offer to the unions during re-convened negotiations on Friday.

The offer will go to a ballot of union members on Monday and Tuesday this week. If accepted, bus services could resume on Wednesday, August 17.

The company said: “Arriva has tabled an improved offer that has enabled UNITE the Union and GMB to ballot members on this offer.

“All parties are working hard to bring the industrial action to a conclusion with the desire to resume service on Wednesday, 17th August.”

Unite have confirmed Arriva’s statement is correct but are yet to comment further on the situation.

Despite several previous meetings between Arriva and the unions, no agreement had been reached, with Arriva refusing to increase their pay offer of 8.5% - 0.9% behind inflation.

The news of a possible agreement comes after Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, contacted the manager director for Arriva UK, to tell senior management they needed to take the ongoing strike more seriously.

In the letter, Steve Rotheram outlined the impact the industrial action is having on the region, as local residents have faced travel disruptions for over three weeks.

What did the Mayor say?

In the detailed letter to Arriva boss Paul O’Neil, the Mayor wrote:

“At the time of writing, swathes of the Liverpool City Region have been without Arriva services for 22 days. This is having an impact not only on peoples’ day-to-day lives but on the local economy too.

Liverpool City Region mayor, Steve Rotheram

“The economic consequences are all too real, with people unable to travel freely, local businesses are being impacted too.”

He adds: “We believe that this impasse requires intervention at a more senior level. We are calling on the highest levels of Arriva Group’s management to get involved in negotiations to find an appropriate swift, and agreeable conclusion to this dispute.

“Were this dispute happening in London, we have little doubt that it would be receiving much greater attention, not only in the national press but within your organisation too.”