Socialist Worker

Arriva North West workers vote on offer, as strikes continue at First Greater Manchester

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2584

Arriva workers have fought bravely

Arriva workers have fought bravely (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Some 2,000 bus drivers and engineers at Arriva North West were voting on a new pay offer as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.

Workers in Merseyside and Greater Manchester have held 11 strikes since the dispute began.

The workers’ Unite and GMB unions did not make a recommendation on whether to accept or reject the new deal.

But some workers were dismayed that it did not deliver either the pay rise or the pay parity across depots they have been fighting for.

The two-year deal would mean a pay increase for all depots, but Merseyside depots would be paid up to 68p an hour more than workers in Bolton doing the same job.

Bosses are also offering £293 backpay to cover the period since April when the pay claim was presented.

A driver from Wythenshawe in Manchester told Socialist Worker he was rejecting the deal “on principle”.

He added, “I don’t agree with the terms, and I’ll be happy to go back on strike.

“We keep this company running and the back pay means they’re not paying us what we’ve worked.”

But others are unsure. Ged from Green Lane depot in Liverpool said the offer is a “lot better than what we’ve won before”.

“I think we’ve pushed them as far as we can get them,” he said.

“It’s annoying we haven’t achieved parity, but the bosses say that pay in other depots will be increased after the deal is done.”

Workers were set to strike for two days this week if the deal is rejected with strikes also planned from 20 to 23 December.

And in a separate dispute, bus drivers at the First Greater Manchester depot in Rusholme are in their twelfth week of strikes for pay parity.

Drivers there are paid up to £5,000 a year less than drivers at a bus depot owned by the same company just a few miles down the road.

The strike is so strong that only 13 out of a normal 42 bus services had left the depot on Monday. And bosses have also had to recruit managers from all over England to keep some bus services running.

Driver Robert spoke to Socialist Worker and explained how “unity is going to win” the dispute.

“We’re sticking together here, there are no more people crossing the picket line,” he said.

Support the Rusholme First Bus strikers - mass picket Wed 20 December, 7am, Firstbus Rusholme Depot, 261 Wilmslow Road, M14 5LJ. Bring trade union banners and delegations. Hosted by Manchester and Trafford Momentum. Details and show your support at www.facebook.com/events/140601636660541/

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