Arriva staff strike set to hit Hertfordshire bus routes in September
- Credit: Arriva
A walkout at bus depots in Hertfordshire is set to take place after Arriva bosses and trade unions failed to reach a pay deal.
Around 900 Arriva staff are set to strike at depots in Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, Ware, Aylesbury, Harlow, High Wycombe, Luton and Milton Keynes.
The strike, organised by Unite the union, is set to take place on Monday, September 5 and Tuesday, September 6.
Industrial action was first proposed on August 23. An Arriva spokesperson announced on Thursday, September 1 that they are "disappointed" to confirm the walkout is going ahead in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
They said: "Despite further negotiations with our union partners today, we are extremely disappointed for all our customers to confirm that industrial action will take place across the region on Monday, September 5 and Tuesday, September 6.
"Arriva remains committed to resolving the industrial action and continues encourage Unite to ballot on this latest pay offer.
"We will continue to keep our customers and stakeholders updated.
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"We apologise for the inconvenience this will cause across the region, particularly as our schools return for a new academic year."
Unite the union members are calling for a pay increase amid inflation rates in double figures.
According to Office for National Statistics figures, retail prices index inflation - the rise in cost of a sample basket of goods and services - hit 12.3 per cent in July.
The union claims Arriva has offered staff pay rises of between four and six per cent - below the 12.3pc figure.
A Unite spokesperson said Arriva can afford to increase workers' pay packages because the firm has paid £560 million to its parent company Deutsche Bahn since 2012.
They also claimed Deutsche Bahn has paid dividends of £5 billion to its owner - the German government - over the past decade.
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: "Arriva and Deutsche Bahn have funnelled money made by these workers out of the country for years.
"It is abundantly clear they can afford to pay a decent increase.
"Instead, and during the worst cost of living crisis for decades, they are asking them to take a real terms wage cut.
"Unite will not accept attacks on our members jobs, pay and conditions and the Arriva workforce will receive Unite’s total support until Arriva comes back with an acceptable offer."
Arriva runs several dozen bus routes in Hertfordshire.
Among them are routes: 18 and 331 between Hertford and Royston; 100 and 101 between Stevenage, Hitchin and Luton; 301 and 302 between Stevenage, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead; 378, 379 and 390 between Stevenage Hertford and Ware; 724 Green Line between Harlow and London Heathrow Airport, through Hertford, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, St Albans and Watford.
The company has confirmed only a limited service will be running on strike days, which includes disruption to the ArrivaClick service in Watford.
A webpage has been set up detailing strike day disruption on the Arriva bus website: http://arrivabus.co.uk/theshires0922
In addition to the Hertfordshire region, around 800 drivers in Arriva's Essex and Kent region are set to strike on two days this month.
The Kent and Essex strikes are due to take place on Monday, September 5 and Friday, September 16.
There are also transport sector strikes set to hit railways in September.
An Aslef union strike is set to impact 12 firms on Thursday, September 15.
A Transport Salaried Staffs' Association union strike affecting five firms and Network Rail is scheduled for September 26 and 27.