I was on the Unite Arriva bus workers picket line at the St Helen’s bus depot from 7am for couple of hours before work this morning. Thanks to the Widnes resident bus drivers for inviting me. The last thing the bus drivers and staff want to do is cause disruption to the public. However, withdrawing their labour (striking) is the last resort when dealing with a huge company that refuses to be reasonable. Arriva is owned by the German transport giant Deutsche Bahn AG and has huge financial resources.
The Arriva bus workers are fed up of inadequate pay offers when the company makes huge profits, yet the bus staff struggle to make ends meet as wages lag behind rising inflation. Arriva can settle this instantly and end disruption to passengers by giving their workers an adequate pay rise. Don’t blame the bus workers, it is Arriva’s refusal to properly negotiate and recognise their workers reasonable requests that is causing the disruption. The last line of defence a worker has when an employer is being unfair is the legal withdrawal of their labour.