The German-owned company is offering drivers, admin staff, engineers, cleaners and shunters pay rises of between four per cent and six per cent. But, with the real rate of inflation, RPI, running at 11.7, Unite says this is a real terms pay cut.
However, tied to the pay offer for drivers is a reduction of 16.6 per cent in overtime rates and an end to paid time for compulsory duties outside of driving, such as travelling to a bus stop to pick up a bus mid-route.
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “The strings attached to this so-called pay offer are outrageous – they reduce the value of the offer to zero. Arriva is asking our members to take a huge cut in the value of their earnings. That is simply unacceptable.
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“Arriva is part of a global transport giant. It can afford to pay its workers properly and Unite is determined that it will do so.”
The ballot of workers at Arriva’s depots in Luton, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Ware, and Stevenage will begin on July 13, with the vote closing on August 10.
Strike action would severely impact bus services within, to and from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.
Unite regional officer, Jeff Hodge, said: “Strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to bus passengers across the region, but this dispute is entirely of Arriva’s own making as workers are not prepared to accept a pay cut disguised as a rise.
“Disruption can be avoided if Arriva makes a pay offer which meets our members’ expectations.”
Nearly 2,000 Unite members employed by Arriva in the North West have recently voted to strike over pay, while over 650 Yorkshire Arriva workers were on strike earlier in the summer over the same pay issue.
> Arriva UK Bus is a major bus operator in the UK based in Sunderland. It is a subsidiary of Arriva which runs transport services across Europe, which has been a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn since 2010.