The end of the strike
Over 3,000 bus drivers at National Express West Midlands, shortly known as NEWM, in central England, have ended their strike action after accepting a pay rise of 16.2%, according to the Unite union's announcement on Saturday. The deal, which also includes the implementation of new terms and conditions agreed upon last year, was accepted by the majority of the drivers in a vote.
Unite's General Secretary, Sharon Graham, said, "This is an important win for Unite members. By standing together, our members at National Express have secured an above-inflation pay offer. We hope that this settlement sets a benchmark for other employers to follow."
A spokesperson for National Express West Midlands expressed their pleasure with the decision and apologized for the disruption caused to customers due to the strike.
The ongoing inflation in the UK, rising to 10.4% in February, has led to disruptive strikes in recent months as hundreds of thousands of transport, health, education, and public-sector workers demand higher wages to keep pace with the accelerating cost of living. The Bank of England is keeping a close watch on pay settlements as it considers any further interest rate rises.
The resolution of the NEWM strike comes as a relief for many commuters, who have been facing disrupted travel services for several days. The strike, which began on Monday, had caused significant disruption to bus services in the region, affecting thousands of commuters who rely on the service for their daily commute.
The settlement between the union and the company is expected to set a benchmark for other employers in the transport sector, who are facing similar demands from their workers. It remains to be seen if other companies will follow suit and offer higher pay rises to their workers to avoid further disruption.