Arriva Cymru bus driver strike will start on Sunday after last ditch talks collapsed

A five week strike by Arriva Cymru bus drivers will start on Sunday after last ditch talks collapsed this evening without a deal.

Arriva Cymru (Buses Wales) expressed disappointment as it confirmed the action will halt all but a handful of services in North Wales and Chester.

The Arriva Midlands services 2, 2A and 2C in Wrexham and Arriva North West services 84 and X30 into Chester are the only routes that will continue to run.

Unite said they could not accept a deal where “Welsh drivers are worth less than their North West colleagues”.

The strike starts at 6am on Sunday.

A spokesperson for Arriva Buses Wales said: “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.

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“We have worked tirelessly to avoid this strike, which is why we have consistently come up with new offers, while the trade unions have refused to negotiate. Both parties have now agreed to mediation through Acas and while this is a welcome step, we would urge Unite to immediately call off the strike this Sunday to give mediation a chance to move us forward without causing disruption to customers and the communities we serve.

“Arriva prides itself on being a great employer which is why our drivers have received continuous year-on year wage increases going back to 2008. It is also the reason we pay higher wages than any other bus company in Wales and why we remain committed to finding a way forward.”

Unite regional officer Jo Goodchild said: “Last ditch talks aimed at averting strike action have failed this afternoon as Arriva did not make an improved offer.

“The Company response has left our members with no option but to press ahead on Sunday morning with five weeks of strike action planned.

“This decision has not been taken lightly.

“Arriva cannot expect our members to accept that Welsh drivers are worth less than their North West colleagues. Unite remain open to further meaningful talks to resolve this dispute.”