Lancashire passengers set to face strike disruption on the buses

Bus passengers in Lancashire could be facing disruption as unions voted to strike over pay.

The workers employed by Arriva in the North West have voted to take all-out continuous strike action from Wednesday, July 20.

Union Unite said 1,800 workers returned a 96 per cent yes vote in favour of strike action on a 72 per cent turnout amid the cost of living crisis.

The union said its members were unhappy with a “pitiful pay offer” from the German-owned transport giant of just three per cent with no strings attached, or six per cent which included reductions in sick pay and loss of Saturday enhanced pay.

Arriva staff have voted to strike in a dispute over pay

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It said both the offers were far below the current inflation rate of 11.7 per cent and so constituted a pay cut.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This dispute is entirely of Arriva’s own making. It can fully afford to ensure its workers receive decent pay and conditions. Instead, Arriva has made our members a pitiful offer. Not only do they want workers to accept a real terms pay cut, they also want them to sacrifice their sick pay. This is just not acceptable.

“Unite will back these members to the hilt until this dispute is resolved and they receive a decent pay increase.”

The depots involved in the dispute are: Birkenhead, Bolton, Bootle, Liverpool, Manchester, Southport, St Helens, and Winsford but the action is set to affect buses travelling to and from Preston.

Pay rates for bus drivers differ between the various depots but, as an example, drivers at Winsford are paid £11.08 an hour.

Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: “The forthcoming strike action is set to cause widespread disruption to bus services throughout the North West. However, this dispute is all about greed not need. Arriva could make its workers a decent offer but it chose not to.

“Even now strikes can be avoided if Arriva made an offer which meets members’ expectations and returns to the negotiating table.”

An Arriva spokesman said: “Further discussions with our trade union partners, Unite and GMB, are being held later this week.

"We remain focused on offering a fair and affordable pay deal which is reflective of our unions aspirations as well as ensuring our vital bus services and networks are sustainable across the region.”