Batley councillors on the picket line as Arriva bus strike edges to conclusion

Labour councillors from Batley who joined striking bus drivers and engineers on the picket line say the action indicates that buses need to be back in public ownership.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 14th July 2022, 4:00 pm

Habiban Zaman, Fazila Loonat and newly-elected Adam Zaman, who all represent Batley East, were out in Heckmondwike and Dewsbury “to show support and solidarity” with Unite members employed by Arriva.

They made their stand as news emerged that Unite had received assurances from senior managers at Arriva of “a new substantial pay offer”, which could be sufficient to resolve the dispute.

The bus strike, which resumed yesterday (Wednesday), is to be lifted tomorrow (Friday).

Batley East councillors Adam Zaman and Habiban Zaman (back row, left) and Fazila Loonat (in head scarf) on the picket line with striking bus workers

All three members said the decision to take industrial action had been as a last resort and followed one of several breakdowns in talks with Arriva.

The resultant strike, which has lasted four weeks, has affected people in Wakefield, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike and South Leeds.

Coun Loonat called for an acceptable offer to be put on the table to workers and welcomed news that a solution might be reached.

She said: “The members would be much rather be at work serving the public.

"We welcome this news and hope that, this time, Arriva actually put their employees before profit and realise scaremongering the unions doesn’t work."

Coun Habiban Zaman said: “Arriva must not undermine the strength of the unions and try to play with public emotions.

"The fact of the matter is that cost of living has increased and this must be reflected in people’s pay, especially when profits are being made.”

Coun Adam Zaman added: “On matters like these, it is clear why we need buses back in public ownership.”

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