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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Liam Thorp

Arriva removes annual leave for striking workers

Arriva has been accused of a 'misguided attack on workers' after the company said it would be removing days of annual leave for workers who took part in successful strike action this summer.

Arriva bus drivers across Merseyside and the north west walked out on strike for 29 days over the summer in a fight for better pay and conditions to help them tackle the cost of living crisis. It meant that no Arriva services were available anywhere in our region for close to a month.

Finally, after several rounds of talks, the major transport operator agreed to offer drivers the 11.1% pay rise they had been fighting for and the strikes were called off. Drivers returned to the roads on August 18.

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Having secured the pay deal, Arriva drivers were furious to receive a letter from their employer telling them they will be docked holidays for their successful strike action. A letter sent from Arriva Operations Director Howard Farrall to staff - seen by the ECHO - said: "Further to the recent period of industrial action and considering the current cost of living crisis we all face, the business has taken the decision to try and limit the financial impact of reconciling individuals' Annual Leave following the recent strike."

The letter states that workers who took part in the strike will have their leave entitlement for 2022 reduced by two days. If the move takes people over the amount of annual leave they are entitled to - the final two days of any booked holidays will be classed as unpaid leave.

The move has been widely criticised. Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: “This is an extremely retrograde step by Arriva. If the company is interested in rebuilding industrial relations and improving morale and productivity among its workforce this is not the way to achieve it.

“Unite has already arranged an urgent meeting with the company and it will be urging the company to see reason and to withdraw this hugely misguided attack on workers’ conditions.”

There has also been a strong reaction on social media. One stated: "Absolutely disgraceful. Punishing workers for taking lawful strike action. You should be ashamed of yourselves." Another asked: "Wow. Not a good look Arriva, do you think this is going to help you at the negotiating table?"

A spokesperson for Arriva said: "We are pleased that our dispute with the unions was resolved last month and that services are back up and running for our customers in the north west.

"In line with standard working practices, colleagues that took strike action earlier this summer will not have accrued annual leave for the days that they did not come into work."

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