More than 3,750 bus drivers across the West Midlands have been offered a pay rise of just 1.5 per cent – as their company rakes in profits of £80,000 a day. A New Year wage battle is on the cards at Birmingham-based transport giant National Express after the firm tabled the initial offer to Unite the union.
Details of the pay talks emerged just days after it was revealed that the region’s biggest bus operator announced it was on track for a £9 million profits surge this year, pushing up earnings from £20 million for 2009 to £29 million this year.
Unite are seeking a five per cent pay rise across the board, plus improved sickness and pension terms and better conditions for standard rate drivers on lower pay. They want improved workplace terms for many drivers, including harmonising conditions for drivers at Pensnett Garage, where workers are on inferior rates.
Unite regional official John Partridge said: “A meeting to discuss the claim was cancelled last week due to the weather and we will be re-arranging in the New Year, when we will be looking for an improvement."