Picket lines in Dewsbury as bus workers go on strike

Striking drivers and engineers with bus operator Arriva have been outside their Dewsbury depot as part of industrial action over a pay claim.

By Tony Earnshaw
Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 10:22 am

Members of the union Unite rejected Arriva’s offer of a 4.1 per cent pay increase because they said it does not reflect the real inflation rate (RPI), which currently stands at 11.1 per cent.

Newly recruited bus drivers are paid £9.78 an hour, which is 28p above the minimum wage. More than 650 members voted 96 per cent in favour of strike action.

Staff based at depots in Castleford, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike, Selby and Wakefield began indefinite strike action from 2am yesterday (Monday). Unite says that Arriva’s low pay across the county means bus workers are being “pummelled” by the cost of living crisis.

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Drivers and engineers with Unite on a picket line outside the Arriva bus depot in Dewsbury as the first day of strike action gets underway yesterday

A spokesperson for Arriva UK Bus said it put forward “an improved and generous pay offer” but that Unite had made demands for further increases. They described the strike as “unjustified”, “damaging” and “counter-productive” and said it would have “an extremely negative impact” on communities across the region.

Among those joining striking workers on the picket line in Dewsbury yesterday was Councillor Fazila Loonat, who represents Batley East for Labour on Kirklees Council.

She commented: “I joined the Unite Arriva drivers who started their official strike today over pay. It’s really sad that in difficult times like these when everything costs more that Arriva are not understanding that paying 28p per hour than the minimum wage is simply not enough. The drivers deserve better pay.”

All Arriva pre-paid tickets will be accepted on First Bus and Transdev buses. For the duration of the industrial action, all journey planning in the Yorkshire region on the Arriva Website and Arriva UK Bus app will be disabled.

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Here is why there will be no Arriva buses across Halifax and Dewsbury today