Bus Driver Strike: Union to begin talks again with Arriva Wales on Tuesday
Pay talks between union officials and Arriva Wales will reconvene on Tuesday morning on what will be the third day of a five-week bus drivers strike.
Bus services in Flintshire have been severely disrupted because of the industrial action which began on Sunday 14 November after drivers voted to strike.
Industrial action by drivers will continue until an acceptable pay offer is tabled and accepted by the workforce, Unite has said.
Chester, Wrexham, Rhyl and Bangor ❤#CheersDrive pic.twitter.com/Re2uc89hH8
— Martin Murphy (@martinscouse) November 14, 2021
Jo Goodchild, Unite Regional Officer commented;
“It is welcome news Arriva Cymru have agreed to reconvene negotiations. Hopefully the company have considered their position and will now make a pay offer that is line with our member’s expectations”.
Nearly 400 Arriva bus drivers from six depots, including Hawarden, Wrexham and Rhyl, voted overwhelmingly for industrial action last month.
Union leaders said North Wales staff are paid £1.80 less an hour than colleagues in north-west England, strike action is now planned until 19 December.
During this industrial action, no planned Arriva bus services are operating within North Wales and Chester (Except for Arriva Midlands services 2, 2A and 2C in Wrexham and Arriva North West services 84 and X30 into Chester).
The N.E Wales Unite Community Branch also joined brothers and sisters from Arriva Bus Wales who are also taking strike action. The branch proudly support you and stand with you. We also made these brothers and sisters sandwiches! @UniteWales @CymruUnite @Unite_Community pic.twitter.com/cvAoyh3aZw
— Michael Harrison (@MikeHarrison246) November 15, 2021
Discussions had been ongoing between Unite Cymru and Arriva Buses Wales up until Friday in a bid to find a resolution.
On Friday Unite said, “Following further talks with ACAS & Arriva Buses Wales today, the company have failed to present a meaningful offer, so strike action will begin this Sunday as planned. Our members are prepared to fight for the fair wage that they deserve & will have our full support.”
A spokesperson for Arriva Buses Wales commented “We are extremely disappointed that despite extensive discussions and a number of improved offers, which would have increased our driver pay to £11.59 per hour back-paid to January 2021 and a further increase to £12.00 per hour in 2022, our customers are still facing a strike this Sunday with no Arriva Buses Wales services able to run if it goes ahead.”
Here are some important questions answered:
I use Arriva services for travel on a daily basis, will my travel plans be affected?
Arriva North Wales have confirmed that they are working hard to avoid industrial action and, whilst they continue to engage in discussions with their trade union partners and remain committed to reaching an agreement, if an agreement is not reached, Arriva Cymru bus drivers at depots, including Amlwch, Bangor, Hawarden (Chester), Llandudno, Rhyl and Wrexham, will strike continuously from 0600 on Sunday 14 November 2021 until 0100 on Sunday 19 December, 2021.
The industrial action will affect all Arriva bus services within North Wales and fare paying passengers will be required to make alternative arrangements if their scheduled service is not operating. Services operated by other bus companies will not be affected and will continue to run as normal.
My child is eligible for school transport, has been issued with an Arriva pass and travels to and from school on an Arriva service, will alternative transport be provided?
We are actively planning for alternative transport provision for eligible school pupils. Alternative travel arrangements will be confirmed with parents and schools affected.
Parents of eligible pupils who have not received confirmation of alternative transport provision can contact school.transport@flintshire.
My child is not eligible for school transport and pays a fare on an Arriva service bus to travel to and from school, will alternative provision be available?
No. Unfortunately not, the Council cannot offer alternative transport provision for fare paying passengers. To do so would require the Council to register the route as a local bus service with the Traffic Commissioner, which requires 56 days’ notice. As a public body, we are not permitted to register subsidised bus services on existing commercial bus service routes (regardless of whether they’re taking industrial action) and we could be challenged legally by commercial operators if we were to do so.
Additionally, given the potential number of Arriva bus services which could be affected, the Council does not have the capacity required to provide alternative provision for non-eligible pupils.
I’ve noticed that there are spare seats left on the alternative transport provision that the Council have provided, can my child use this transport?
No. Unfortunately, the Council cannot offer alternative transport provision for fare paying passengers or non-eligible pupils. Alternative transport provision is being provided for eligible pupils; however, we are not in a position to provide alternative transport arrangements for non-eligible pupils and you will need to make your own travel arrangements as a result.
If we accepted fare paying passengers, we would be required to register the routes as a local bus service with the Traffic Commissioner, which requires 56 days’ notice. As a public body, we are not permitted to register subsidised bus services on existing commercial bus service routes (regardless of whether they’re taking industrial action) and we could be challenged legally by operators if we were to do so.
Additionally, we do not hold records of the number of fare paying passengers (including fare paying pupils) travelling on Arriva bus services across the County or where they may live, and where they may travel to and from.
My child travels to and from Coleg Cambria on an Arriva Service and has been issued with an Arriva pass from the College, will alternative transport be provided?
No, due to the potential number of bus services serving the college which could be affected, the Council does not have the capacity required to provide alternative provision. Coleg Cambria have been informed of the potential industrial action and possible disruption and we would urge students who usually access Arriva services to travel to and from college to make alternative provision for the weeks ahead.
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