STRIKES planned on the buses this week have been called off following a pay offer by travel company Arriva that has been put to union members.
The strikes, which were to take place on Wednesday to Friday (October 19 -21) across Arriva depots in Northfleet, Gillingham, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, were part of a series of walk outs over pay.
While planned strikes for this week have been called off, a week-long walkout scheduled for half term next week has not yet been cancelled but if union members accept the pay offer, it could be called off.
The offer has yet to be made public, but union bosses have been asking for a 12.3 per cent pay rise.
Unite said they will take the offer to colleagues this week and expect a decision from the ballot at the weekend.
The news comes as the GMB union says it will be balloting 15,000 workers from 11 ambulance trusts across England and Wales for strike action, including at the South East Coast Ambulance service (SECAMB) that serves most of Kent and East Sussex.
“Pay has been systematically slashed for more than ten years and we now face the worst cost of living crush in a generation.
The ballot opens on October 24 and closes on November 29. Any potential strike action could take place before Christmas.
The strike is in response to the anger over the Government’s four per cent pay award, which the union says will see workers facing a real term pay cut.
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said: “Ambulance workers have just had enough. They’ve not been on strike in decades, but they are at the end of what they can take.
“Meanwhile vacancies are at record highs and we have the worst A&E delays ever – and it’s not even the winter flu season yet,” she explained.
“But this is about more than pay and conditions. Cuts and shortages mean GMB members feel they are unable to deliver safe standards of patient care.
“Things can’t go on like this – something has to give.”