Bus passengers in Croydon face having their journeys disrupted by three days of planned strike action in a dispute between drivers and operators Arriva, after the company made what a union official has described as a “pathetic” pay offer.
The first 24-hour strike will take place on Monday March 21 and a further 48-hour strike is scheduled for March 28.
“If there is no breakthrough in the dispute then further industrial action will be announced,” Unite, the drivers’ union, said.
Around 1,000 drivers are employed at depots at South Croydon (60, 166, 194, 312, 405, 412 and 466, school routes 612, 627, 645 and 685, and 24-hour route 264), Norwood (routes 2, 137, 157, 202, 249, 417, 450 and 468, N2 and N137), Thornton Heath (157, 198, 250, 255, 289 and 410, school bus route 689, 24-hour route 64 and night route N250) and at Brixton, the routes operating across south and central London.
When balloted, 95per cent of drivers came out in favour of strike action.
Arriva has offered the workers a 1.5per cent pay rise, “which in reality is a sizeable pay cut with the real level of inflation at 7.8per cent”, the union says.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Arriva’s pay offer is pathetic and it is an insult to bus drivers who continued to work throughout the pandemic risking their health to ensure London could continue to function.
“Our bus drivers at Arriva will have Unite’s full support until the company makes a realistic pay offer and this dispute is resolved.”
Unite regional officer John Murphy said: “The strikes will cause considerable disruption to bus passengers throughout London and Kent but this dispute is entirely of Arriva’s own making. Arriva has had every chance to make a fair pay offer but has chosen not to do so.
“Even at this late stage delays and disruption across London can be avoided if Arriva is prepared to make a realistic pay offer and returns to the negotiating table.”
Disputes involving Arriva workers at Dartford and Grays have been resolved after the company made improved pay offers.
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Arriva are the lowest paying bus company, with wage rates 6% below the national average. You can bet your boots that inflation busting pay rises elsewhere will set them even further back.
I can’t imagine anything much more stressful than driving a bus in London. Good luck to the drivers in their pay dispute. They deserve public support, especially after so many of them suffered and died after exposure to COVID19, just through carrying out their job.
I hope Mayor Khan gets his finger out and helps with this one.
All companies in London get millons in profit but never pay the right salary to the bus drivers. Also they push to do long hours (11hours with miserable 40 mins break time).