More than 600 people, employed by the Kent based bus company Arriva, will go on strike on Monday in a dispute over pay.
The workers, who are members of the Unite union have already turned down a pay increase offer of around 10%. The union described the offer as 'a real terms pay cut' as it doesn't match 'the real rate of inflation' which stands at 12.3%.
Monday's walkout is the first of four days of action throughout September. If an agreement isn't made, workers will also go on strike on Friday 16 September, Tuesday 20 September and Friday 30 September.
Those taking part operate from depots in Gillingham, Maidstone, Gravesend and Tunbridge Wells.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Arriva and Deutsche Bahn are incredibly wealthy companies. They can fully afford to give our members a decent pay rise but have chosen not.
“Unite’s members have rightly rejected a real terms pay cut masquerading as a pay rise and they will be receiving the union’s total support throughout this dispute.”
Unite regional officer Janet Nobbs said: “Bus strikes will inevitably cause severe disruption across Kent but this dispute is entirely of Arriva’s own making.
"Arriva has had every opportunity to resolve this dispute but it has chosen not to do so.”
The union’s Arriva members in Buckinghamshire have also recently announced strike action beginning this month, while the planned action by drivers in Essex has been called off after workers accepted an improved pay offer.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Arriva said: "Despite further negotiations with our Union partner this week, we are extremely disappointed for all our customers to confirm that industrial action will take place across Northfleet, Gillingham, Maidstone & Turnbridge Wells on Monday 5th September and on Friday 16th September.
"We expect to run majority of service in Southend on Monday 5th September and will provide a further update throughout Monday morning.
"Arriva remains committed to resolving the industrial action and would encourage Unite to ballot on this latest pay offer.
"We will continue to keep our customers and stakeholders updated, we apologise for the inconvenience this will cause across the region, particularly as our schools return for a new academic year."
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