National Express West Midlands says it hopes a planned drivers strike on Monday can be averted by a vote which will end tomorrow at midday.
The Unite union yesterday announced indefinite action impacting 93% of the West Midlands bus network by 3,100 National Express drivers after recommending members reject the latest pay offer.
A drivers strike was suspended earlier this week to allow a ballot on an amended offer from the company which includes a 14.3% pay rise.
Unite said in a statement that the deal had “more strings attached than a grand piano” and has accused the company of “continued attempts to subvert the collective bargaining process”.
A National Express West Midlands spokesperson says: “We are deeply sorry to our customers for the inconvenience of not yet being able to plan to travel on Monday.
“We sincerely hope drivers accept our excellent offer of 14.3% pay increase bringing an experienced driver salary up to nearly £33k.
“We want to reassure our customers we are doing all we can to resolve this issue and will share the relevant information as swiftly as possible.”
Unite claims that, between 2018 and 2021, average pay at National Express for West Midlands’ bus workers fell by 6% in real terms “with the gap increasing even further in 2022, because of rocketing prices”.
Also on Friday, Unite announced that Arriva bus drivers in Newcastle and Northumberland were being balloted for strike action in a dispute over pay. The dispute involves 330 drivers and engineers who are members of the union.
The ballot opened this week and will close on 30 March, with Union saying strikes could begin after Easter.