Thousands of UK bus drivers plan strikes over pay

LONDON – Thousands of bus drivers in London and the neighbouring county of Kent plan to strike in a dispute over pay, the Unite union said, threatening further disruption to a transport system already facing walkouts by railway workers next month.

More than 2,000 drivers at bus operator Arriva will strike from Oct 4 in London, Unite said on Wednesday, while 600 Kent-based staff employed by the same company will walk out on Sept 30.

The plans come after railway workers from several rail operators across the country said they would strike in October, when the governing Conservative Party’s annual conference is due to take place in Birmingham.

Unite said the strike by London bus drivers would run continuously until the dispute was resolved.

A worsening cost-of-living crisis in Britain has prompted workers in industries from railways and airlines to barristers and even trade union staff to either threaten or undertake strike action in disputes over pay and conditions.

In recent days a number of unions have set out fresh dates for strikes that were following the death of Queen Elizabeth earlier this month.

“Arriva has totally failed to address the strength of feeling among our members as they see their rates of pay eroded.

The company needs to to the negotiating table with an offer which meets workers’ reasonable expectations,” Unite regional officer Steve Stockwell said in a statement.

Arriva, which is headquartered in Sunderland in northern England and owned by Germany’s state-owned Deutsche Bahn, did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

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