Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Union Claims on Driver Pay Wrong Insists Arriva

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Union Claims on Driver Pay Wrong Insists Arriva

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE BROWN mike.brown@reachplc.com @MIKEBROWNGAZ

BUS company Arriva has urged Unite to reconsider strike action, saying the union's claims over pay are a 'false flag.'.

Some 650 drivers are set to take industrial action from Sunday after overwhelmingly rejecting a pay offer from the transport giant.

Unite has maintained its belief that those working for Arriva Durham County Ltd were the second lowest paid drivers of all the Arriva bus companies across the country.

But Arriva has questioned the union's claim of pay inequality.

In what it calls "an unprecedented move", the company has released a wages comparison report to Unite demonstrating that its pay offer will in fact consolidate the drivers' position as being among the very highest-paid bus drivers in the region. It claims the comparison in research, based on readily available wage data, shows that under the new pay offer: | Arriva drivers will be paid better hourly rates than virtually all of their counterparts at other bus companies in the North-east, when factoring in that they are paid for mealbreaks.

It says there are only two depots out of over 20 in the North-east where bus drivers are paid more and that difference is only 3p per hour more than Arriva Durham crews will earn, again factoring in the value of paid meal breaks.

| The average Arriva driver pay for a top rate driver for a basic 39-hour week at PS10.60 per hour will be PS413.40 per week - equivalent to PS21,579 per annum before tax etc. |Many drivers also volunteer for overtime, which would top up weekly pay to around PS500 under the new pay deal - equivalent to PS26,100 per year per annum before tax and other deductions.

| Arriva's latest pay offer, rejected by the Unite union, comprised a 7.6% increase on hourly rates over a twoyear period (backdated to March 2018), a reduction in the length of time it takes drivers to hit the top rate of pay (from five years to three), and a guarantee of a further increase in March 2020 equivalent to PS1 an hour. …

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