DISRUPTION on the bus network in Cheshire has entered a third week as Arriva drivers continue to strike over pay.

Drivers have been taking part in industrial action for more than 12 days, maintaining their demand for an increase on the current pay offer.

On Monday (August 1), trade unionists from the Cheshire and Chester Unite Community Branch visited the strike picket line in Road Four of the Winsford Industrial Estate.

Arriva services across the county, Merseyside and Greater Manchester have been unable to operate.

All buses running from the Winsford and Runcorn depots have been cancelled, however all local Macclesfield services remain in operation with the exception of service 38.

Robert Marnell, GMB organiser, said: "GMB stands ready to talk when all parties are ready to get round the table and compromise – otherwise it’s a complete waste of time. 

"These workers are struggling to make ends meet – Arriva needs to recognise that and make them an offer that helps them cope with the cost of living crisis. 

"You can bet your bottom dollar Arriva bosses are doing OK, yet the people who kept the company going through the pandemic are desperate. It’s not right. 

"It’s up to them to get back round the table and stop this disruption for people across the North West.”

Northwich Guardian: The Winsford picket line (Felicity Dowling)The Winsford picket line (Felicity Dowling)

An Arriva spokesman said: "We are extremely disappointed that despite further negotiations with Unite and GMB and a very generous improved offer, the unions have once again walked away without even agreeing to put our offer to their members.

"This means we continue to face ongoing strike action across the North West region, causing continued misery for passengers.

"We have worked tirelessly to reach an agreement on a way forward, making an offer that would have seen our drivers being the highest paid in the region, with no changes to current employee benefits and a lump sum of backdated pay to April 1, 2022.

"Our customers will share our frustration at the unions’ unreasonable stance.

"We are seeking to engage ACAS to help bring a resolution to this situation and we urge Unite and GMB to immediately reconsider their position, call an end to strike action and give their members the opportunity to ballot on our generous pay rise."