Arriva manages to run 25% of its bus services despite driver strike
Arriva managed to run almost a quarter of its normal services yesterday, the first full working day of a seven-day strike called by the Unite union.
Buses were taken out by Arriva staff redeployed from other roles, together with a proportion of drivers who chose not to participate in the industrial action. All journeys taken on Arriva services during the strike are being provided free of charge and the company reports a robust passenger take up.
All redeployed staff are fully qualified PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) Category D licence holder. Many Arriva staff who are not full-time drivers maintain their driving qualifications and the time they have spent in the driving seat has given them an essential understanding of both the passenger and driver experience.
Maria Bainbridge a member of the Arriva Management team is a typical volunteer. Maria reports that passengers were pleased to see some of their normal services show up: ‘We’re just trying to keep the show on the road as best we can during this difficult week. We managed to get a number of people to work and to school and minimise the disruption to their normal schedules.’
Maria also has two important travel trips for passengers this week: ‘I’d advise travellers to check regularly with Arriva social media for details of replacement services and to remember that these journeys are free of charge.’
Meanwhile the seven-day strike enters its third day with the union refusing to back down from its claim of pay inequality, despite a detailed wages comparison from Arriva that demonstrates drivers would be among the best paid in the region with the new deal it has been offered.
Arriva’s latest pay offer comprises a 7.6% increase on hourly rates over a two year period (backdated to March 2018), a reduction in the length of time it takes drivers to hit the top rate of pay (from five years to three years), and a guarantee of a further increase in March 2020 equivalent to £1 an hour.