National Express West Midlands Workers Prepare to Fight

Following bus workers in several parts of the country recently winning substantial pay rises, National Express West Midlands bus drivers and admin staff in Birmingham, the Black Country and Coventry, members of Unite the Union, will ballot for strike action on pay between 8 February and 1 March.

Drivers are furious at what they correctly describe as a ‘real-terms pay cut.’ The company says it has offered a 14% pay rise, but that includes 6% already paid last November, leaving the real offer at 8%. Some drivers earn as little as £11.80 an hour. It seems a long time since bus drivers were hailed as Covid heroes.

The admin staff (many of who only earn just above the minimum wage) haven’t even received an offer, despite suffering from the same cost-of-living crisis as the drivers.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “National Express brings in huge amounts of money while its workers are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. It can afford to pay a decent wage to its workers and that is exactly what it needs to do.”

This could be the first bus strike in the West Midlands for decades. National Express runs 93% of bus services in West Midlands and so a dispute would have a big impact on the regional economy.

The company made a profit of £15.8 million in the first half of 2022, so there is plenty of money for an inflation-proof pay offer.

Passengers will likely be frustrated at the effects of a strike. Unite should appeal to the public for support, explaining the workers’ case and placing the blame for any inconvenience firmly on the company’s shoulders.

Strikes will start in the near future if the ballot returns a ‘yes’ vote.

Written by workers for workers.

The media never covers the real struggles of the working class. Instead they spread lies and misinformation. That's why we have our own newpaper and email list.

Join our email list to keep up with the latest socialist news. We share the protests, strikes, and meetings happening near you.
We are a branch of the Socialist Party, the English and Welsh section of the Committee for a Workers' International - a worldwide revolutionary socialist organisation with parties and groups in countries across the globe.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram