NatEx West Midlands staff to strike over pay
National Express West Midlands staff are due to strike on 16 March.
More than 3,000 drivers from the bus operator have voted to take industrial action over a pay dispute, trade union Unite has said. They will be joined by over 200 National Express engineers who voted for industrial action over pay in January. The strikes are likely to severely impact National Express West Midlands’ services, which cover a significant proportion of the region’s bus network.
“…the National Express workforce has their union’s total and unflinching support during these strikes” – Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham
Unite cites National Express Group’s latest financial figures, quoting the Group’s underlying operating profits that doubled to £197.3m. Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “National Express is sitting on mountains of cash and can absolutely afford to give a pay rise to its staff that reflects rocketing living costs. It needs to do just that. Unite defends our members jobs, pay and conditions to the hilt and the National Express workforce has their union’s total and unflinching support during these strikes.”
“How many people reading this can say they’ve been offered a 19% pay rise in a year?” – National Express West Midlands spokesperson
A spokesperson for National Express West Midlands commented on the decision to strike: “This is an extremely disappointing result. Since the ballot, we have offered the union a pay deal for drivers worth 13.4% made up of 11.1% for 2023 and a retention payment worth 2.3%. This is on top of 6% our drivers received in November. This will see the majority of drivers earn over £30,000. The union has turned it down without even giving our drivers a chance to vote on it. How many people reading this can say they’ve been offered a 19% pay rise in a year?
“Only 60% of drivers voted in favour of industrial action on an out-of-date offer of 8.1% and yet multi-million pound union Unite would see their members out of pocket and the lives of the people of the West Midlands disrupted to score political points. The union is using our hard-working drivers as bargaining chips, playing with people’s lives without giving drivers a vote on it.”
Diamond Bus, which also operates in the West Midlands, has published a statement to reassure its passengers that its services will not be affected by the strike action and will continue to operate as normal.