West Midlands bus drivers to vote on new pay offer which could end ‘indefinite’ strike action

Strikers in Kingswinford

More than 3,100 bus drivers at National Express West Midlands began continuous industrial action on Monday, with workers joining picket lines every day this week.

It came after Unite members overwhelmingly rejected a 14.3 per cent pay rise offer in a ballot last week.

Now, a 16.2 per cent pay increase has been tabled.

Strike action will continue while bus drivers vote on the new offer on Friday and Saturday, with the results due to be announced at the weekend.

If the new pay offer is accepted, it will end the current continuous industrial action which has seen the majority of National Express West Midlands bus services ground to a halt.

There would be a reduced service on Sunday, but services would resume as normal on Monday.

Only a ‘skeleton service’ has been able to operate since the start of the week.

The bus operator has called it a “very fair and decent offer” which is “among the best pay rises of any sector, anywhere in the country”.

A National Express West Midlands spokesperson said: “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Unite that is going to be fully recommended to its members and will be balloted on Friday and Saturday.

“This is a very fair and decent offer – among the best pay rises of any sector, anywhere in the country. We encourage all our drivers to accept the offer and get the West Midlands moving again.

“We are very sorry to customers for the disruption this week.”

Unite national lead officer Onay Kasab said: “Following negotiations on Thursday, National Express put forward an improved pay offer which will be put to our members in a vote over the next two days.

“Unite will be making no further comments during the ballot period.”

This week, there have been picket lines outside National Express garages in the Black Country, including in Wolverhampton, Walsall, West Bromwich and Kingswinford.

People can stay up to date on the latest services operating by checking nxbus.co.uk

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