About 650 bus drivers in the north east will strike for a week from 6 January after they rejected a revised pay offer by a large majority, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, announced today (Thursday 20 December).

The drivers, based at Darlington, Durham, Redcar, Stockton and Whitby, voted by 72 per cent to 28 per cent to reject the pay offer that was made last weekend when a week’s strike due to have started on 16 December was suspended.

Following today’s rejection, the strike will now start at 00.01 on Sunday 6 January and end at 23.59 on Saturday 12 January.

Unite has said that the crux of the dispute was the belief that bus drivers working for Arriva Durham County Ltd were the second lowest paid drivers of all the Arriva bus companies across the UK.

Unite regional officer Bob Bolam said: “Our members have today rejected by a large majority the revised pay offer that the management of Arriva Durham County Ltd made last weekend.

“The core of the dispute is the anger the bus drivers feel because they believe they are the second lowest paid drivers of all the Arriva bus companies across the UK.

“The revised offer failed to bridge that pay gap and our members can’t endure this glaring pay inequality – the ball is now very much in the management’s court.

“However, we appreciate the great inconvenience that the strike will cause to the travelling public in early January and, because of that, Unite is ready to hold constructive talks over the holiday period.”

The bus drivers rejected the revised package which included 75p on the hourly rate over two years in four instalments. The drivers are seeking an increase £1 per hour on the rates for the year starting March 2018.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065

Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.