Bus passengers in south London face further turmoil this summer if drivers employed by Arriva take strike action in a dispute over pay.
More than 1,000 drivers, who are members of Unite, have rejected a pay offer worth around 7.3per cent, maintaining that this would amount to a real terms pay cut with inflation at 11.3per cent.
Depots affected include Norwood, South Croydon, Thornton Heath and Brixton.
The union began balloting this week, the voting set to close on August 2, with strikes possible from the beginning of next month.
“Our members are not going to accept a real terms pay cut from a company that could and should make a fair pay offer,” said Sharon Graham, the Unite general secretary.
“Arriva is an incredibly wealthy company that has taken millions out of the UK economy. It can fully afford to make an offer that meets our members’ expectations, but it has chosen not to.”
Arriva is owned by Deutsche Bahn, one of the largest transport companies in the world and which is effectively owned by the German government. During the last 10 years, Arriva’s UK bus division has paid £560million to Deutsche Bahn in Germany in profit transfers.
Over the last decade, Deutsche Bahn has paid dividends of £5billion to the German government.
Unite regional officer Steve Stockwell said: “Strike action will inevitably cause major disruption in south London and across the capital but this dispute is entirely of Arriva’s own making.
“It has had every chance to make its workers a fair pay offer, but has declined to do so.”
Arriva bus drivers in north London, meanwhile, have resolved their dispute after accepting an improved offer.
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