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Unite statement rebutting the claims of Arriva Buses in Durham

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, today (Friday 4 January 2019) strongly refuted claims made by Arriva Durham County Ltd about the week-long bus strike due to start on Sunday (6 January).

Unite said that the claims made by Nigel Featham, regional managing director of Arriva Buses were ‘a deliberate ploy to muddy the waters’.

Unite regional officer Bob Bolam said: “We strongly refute Nigel Featham’s assertion that the pay offer on the table would make our members ‘the very best paid drivers in the North East’.

“This is because the other companies operating bus services across the region have a range of different pay rates, and terms and conditions, so it is invidious to make such direct comparisons with our members’ pay.

“Arriva is a highly profitable operation. Arriva Durham County’s real agenda is a helter-skelter race to the bottom in terms of pay and employment conditions, when a decent employer would wish to better reward its hardworking employees. The company is deliberately muddying the waters.

“We appreciate that the public will be greatly inconvenienced by the strike, which we worked tirelessly to avoid, but at talks yesterday (Thursday 3 January) the management put ‘no new money on the table’ and also threatened to slash services, if Unite carried on with the strike.

“The UK has some of the strictest rules governing industrial action in western Europe and Unite held a legitimate ballot for strike action which our members overwhelmingly voted for. Industrial democracy should be the bedrock of our employment practices.

“The Arriva management has had plenty of time to settle this dispute and their energies would be better spent in resolving it, rather than promoting anti-union diatribes, which do not help bus travellers in the North East.” 

The drivers, based at Darlington, Durham, Redcar, Stockton and Whitby will walk out at 00.01 on Sunday (6 January) until 23.59 on Saturday 12 January.

The bus drivers rejected the revised package before Christmas 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 with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

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