Bus strikes on again with trains to follow

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Service disruptions. Pic © Sam O’Hara JMU Journalism

There will be further disruption and problems for commuters on Merseyside today and over the coming weeks with more industrial action going ahead.

Today’s latest bus strikes follow one last Monday (October 23rd) and Thursday October 19th – with further industrial action planned.

Bus workers have now scheduled additional strike days throughout the coming month, including November 8th, which could bring the city to standstill as it clashes with RMT members striking over the removal of guards from Merseyrail trains.

Members of Unite and GMB unions who work for Arriva North West have been protesting in a dispute over their claims on below-inflation pay and wage inequality between bus garages. It was hoped that a deal could be agreed ahead of today’s scheduled strike but that has not been the case.

In an attempt to combat the disturbance, people who have bought tickets for Arriva services today will able to use their tickets for journeys with other services, including some Stagecoach routes and on Merseyrail trains.

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Unite regional officer, Neil Clarke, said: “Arriva is owned by the German transport giant Deutsche Bahn AG and has huge financial resources. All we are seeking is a fair and reasonable pay award against a backdrop of spiraling inflation and soaring living costs.”

Talks between the unions and Arriva are said to have broken down last week as no deal has yet been agreed.

Arriva bus. Pic © Megan Hill JMU Journalism

Unite Regional Officer John Boughton said: “We appreciate that these strikes will cause disruption to the travelling public, but the ball is very much in the company’s court. They have the financial clout to settle this dispute at the stroke of a pen.”

Managing Director of Arriva North West, Phil Stone, said: “Our priority is to continue working together with Unite and GMB to reach a mutually acceptable outcome, recognising that any pay increase has to be sustainable for the business going forward.”

There is now action planned for November 6th, 8th, 13th, 20th and 27th, with picket lines being assembled outside Arriva North West depots.

Commuters are urged to plan their journeys carefully ahead of proposed strike action to ensure that their travel can run as smoothly as possible under the circumstances.

They can keep updated with the situation by checking the Arriva North West website and the Merseytravel site for the latest updates and any progress on the discussions.

About Sam O'Hara, JMU Journalism