Arriva North West (ANW) has confirmed to drivers who were part of long-running strike action that their annual leave entitlement for 2022 has been cut by two days to reflect a lack of accrual during that period.
The move was outlined in a staff notice from Operations Director Howard Farrall on 29 September. Mr Farrall says that the two-day reduction adopted by ANW reflects a desire “to try and limit the financial impact of reconciling individuals’ annual leave” following the strike. The operator adds that the approach is “in line with standard working practices.”
When agreement on the 11.1% settlement that ended the dispute was reached between ANW and unions in late August, the operator said that the deal would “place challenges” on the sustainability of its network, which extends from Lancashire to Cheshire and includes a dominant position on Merseyside.
The reduction has generated an angry response from Unite the Union, which represents most of the drivers that engaged in the action. Unite has called on the operator to “see reason and withdraw this hugely misguided attack on workers’ conditions,” says Regional Officer Dave Roberts.
Mr Roberts claims that the move is “a retrograde step” from Arriva North West and that it “is not the way” to rebuild industrial relations and generate an improvement in morale and productivity among the over 2,000 drivers that took action.
The message from Mr Farrall says that for employees who went on strike, the annual leave reduction applies immediately. Where all annual leave is accounted for by a driver involved in the action and they do not wish to cancel any, they will be allocated two days unpaid instead. No impact will be made on statutory minimum levels of annual leave, he adds.
Allocation will return to full levels in 2023 except for any staff who have already taken their full 2022 entitlement. In those cases, they will lose two annual leave days from 2023.
For striking drivers that were on annual leave for at least two weeks during the action, their 2022 entitlement will reduce by one day. Drivers who worked during the action or who were on long-term sick leave are not affected.