National Express West Midlands bus strike called off as drivers accept new pay deal

A strike by bus drivers has ended after they accepted an improved pay offer Credit: PA

Bus drivers at National Express West Midlands have voted in favour of a 16.2% pay rise, bringing an end to the strike from Sunday 26 March.

The result concludes the pay dispute between National Express West Midlands and Unite - which saw drivers walk out on Monday 20 March.

The deal means there will be a reduced service on Sunday (26 March) and as close to normal as possible on Monday. 

Industrial action began on Monday (26 March) when 3,100 National Express drivers "downed tools" in a dispute over pay.

After a ballot of more than 3,100 drivers the new pay deal was accepted on Saturday 25 March Credit: BPM Media

As the service runs 93% of buses in the region, widespread disruption has impacted those who solely rely on buses to go about their daily lives - including work, school, medical appointments and shopping.

These workers had previously rejected an "improved offer" of a 14.3% pay increase.

It has now been agreed these workers will see a one-year pay increase of 16.2%.

In addition, the offer also includes improvements to drivers' accident pay and hourly rates for working over the Christmas holidays.

National Express has also guaranteed to implement new terms and conditions that were agreed upon with Unite in November last year, a key sticking point in the dispute.

More than 200 National Express engineers voted last week to accept a separate pay deal.

  • WATCH: Onay Kasab, a spokesperson for Unite, tells ITV News Central members voted 85% in favour of the pay deal.

A spokesperson for National Express West Midlands said: “We are pleased that the drivers have voted in favour of accepting the offer.

“We apologise to our customers and the communities we serve for the significant disruption and inconvenience this has caused over the last few weeks. We are pleased to be able to put this behind us and focus on delivering a bus service that customers can rely on.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "This is an important win for Unite members.

"By standing together our members at National Express secured an above-inflation pay offer.

“Unite will leave no stone unturned to defend workers' pay.

"This is yet another example of how Unite’s relentless focus on improving jobs, pay and conditions result in real 'money in the pockets' of our members.”

Unite lead national officer Onay Kasab said: "We congratulate every one of our members for making this stand and winning. Unite will continue to work, through our Bus Combine, to win double-digit pay increases for our members.”

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