The Bus Drivers for Arriva Durham Ltd. reluctantly started a week long strike on the 6th January after the company had failed to improve their pay offer. The Durham drivers are some of the lowest paid in the Arriva Group. The Bus Drivers are all member of the trade union UNITE who as an affiliated Labour Party union asked our members for support.
Arriva is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn who are owned by the German Government. While Arriva made over £20 million profit in 2017 Bus Drivers have a starting wage of only £8.25 rising to £9.85 after 5 years service. It means a Bus Driver working full-time with five or more years service is still paid less than £20,000 and that includes unsocial shifts. In comparison a director of Arriva was paid over £1.1 million in 2017.
Although the disruption and inconvenience to the public is regrettable this dispute could be easily resolved by the company agreeing to a pay deal which would bring the drivers in Durham onto a similar level as in other parts of the Country.
The Labour Party is committed to introducing a real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for everyone and therefore members from the City of Durham CLP joined the picket line for 5 days of the dispute. Instead of hiring in drivers from Yorkshire to run a skeleton service we call upon the Arriva owners to enter new negotiations and resolve this dispute now.