Arriva bus drivers in North Wales have started a five-week long strike after the company failed to come to an agreement with union representatives over an increase in pay to address the unacceptable £1.81 difference in the hourly rate for drivers in Wales and drivers in North West England.
In addition, it is reported that Arriva Cymru drivers have been offered only a 29p an hour increase while Arriva drivers over the border have been offered 39p.
Nobody wants to see people left without bus services, least of all the bus drivers. However, such discrimination against Welsh drivers is unacceptable and their rate of pay needs to match that paid by Arriva elsewhere. That’s why we support the decision of the drivers to take this action.
Jo Goodchild, Unite regional officer, commented: “Arriva Cymru has completely misjudged the level of anger there is amongst its workforce.
“Welsh workers are not willing to accept inferior terms and conditions to their colleagues in other parts of the UK.
“The company has wasted the opportunity to see sense and offer Welsh workers a deal comparable to its operations in the rest of the UK that begins to tackle poverty pay rates.”
Unite’s General Secretary, Sharon Graham, added: “Arriva Cymru has chosen not to offer their loyal Welsh workforce the pay offer they deserve.
“Their failure to tackle poverty pay will now result in severe disruption to bus services and the people of North Wales.”
Looking to the future, Ynys Môn Labour Party want to see better planned and more affordable bus services, especially at peak times, and will press the local authority to take full advantage of Welsh Labour Government measures to enable this to happen.
Welsh Labour will empower local authorities to determine the most appropriate model for bus services, and we want to see our bus services improve as a result of this initiative.
We will welcome the re-introduction of franchising and use by our local authority of the powers to run bus services. The era of poor services and low pay ushered in by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s needs to end.