Socialist Worker

Arriva North East bus drivers in a battle for £8 an hour

by Esme Choonara
Issue No. 2009

Nearly 900 bus drivers who work for Arriva North East struck for 24 hours on Monday.

This was the third one day strike by drivers across Teesside, County Durham and parts of North Yorkshire.

They are campaigning for a pay rise to bring them in line with Arriva drivers in nearby Northumbria who are currently paid £8 an hour.

“The strikers are feeling upbeat and determined,” Alan Gray from the T&G union told Socialist Worker.

“The strike was totally solid and we have had a good turnout on picket lines at all depots.”

The drivers have rejected two offers from the company. The latest offer was £7.50 an hour this year rising to £8 an hour next year.

“The company has increased the original offer slightly,” Alan Gray said, “but it is split over two years and it doesn’t match what we have asked for.”

Arriva’s management say that the company cannot afford the drivers’ pay claim, yet the company made pre tax profits of £108 million last year.

Arriva managers are not only unpopular with the workers.

More than 1,000 people in Middlesbrough have recently signed a petition protesting at cuts to bus services.

People living in the Ormesby and Nunthorpe areas of the city say they are angry at the decision by Arriva to withdraw buses to the main hospital, supermarkets and medical centre.

The company was also criticised last week by Redcar and Cleveland council’s scrutiny committee after timetable changes which councillors believe could cut off several villages in the region.

Alan Gray reported that there is a lot of support for the strike. “The public have been very supportive,” he told Socialist Worker. “They believe that our drivers are entitled to decent pay.”

The drivers are planning to strike every Monday.

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Article information

Sat 15 Jul 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2009
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