THERE will be no services running in Tunbridge Wells from Kent’s main bus operator next week after a pay offer was turned down by union members.
Drivers and workers at Arriva are to walk out over pay and conditions during half term at depots in Northfleet, Gillingham, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.
The strike, which is set to end on Friday (October 28), comes after Unite the Union cancelled planned walkouts this week (October 19 – 21) after receiving the pay offer from Arriva.
But after balloting their members, the union has said members voted not to accept the bus operators pay offer.
The offer has not been made public but union leaders had been asking for a 12.3 per cent pay rise.
Arriva says it is ‘incredibly disappointed’ that the union rejected their offer and says they will attempt to ‘resolve this dispute as quickly as possible.’
A spokesperson for the bus operator added: “We understand the detrimental impact this situation is having on our customers, our communities, our local economy – we urge the unions to reconsider their position, act in good faith and show a genuine willingness to resolve this dispute for the benefit of their members and our customers”.
The industrial action comes as members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out on November 3, 5 and 7 next month.
The railway walkouts will likely see Tunbridge Wells station close as Southeastern, which operates trains in the, effecting Network rail services including Southeastern Railways.
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group that represents the train operators in the UK, said: “We are frustrated that the RMT leadership has decided to take further strike action. Given their recent call for ‘intense negotiations’ we had hoped they would give our staff and customers a much-needed break from the disruption and lost pay of the last five months.
“Instead of inflicting more unnecessary long-term damage to the industry we all want to see thrive, we ask the RMT to recognise the very real financial challenge the railway faces, and work with us towards a fair deal that both offers a pay rise and includes the long overdue changes we need to make to improve services for our customers.”