Drivers from the town, along with colleagues from Darlington, Durham, Redcar and Stockton, will walk out at 00.01 on Sunday, December 16 until 23.59 on Saturday, December 22, after voting by 95 per cent for strike action in pursuit of a £1 an hour pay rise for the year starting March 2018.
The strike, which was announced yesterday by Unite, will see 650 drivers walk out, with Unite saying that the crux of the dispute was the belief that bus drivers working for Arriva Durham County Ltd were the second lowest paid drivers of all the Arriva bus companies across the UK.
Lengthy talks were held on Friday (30 November) between Unite and the management - and a company response to those talks is expected later this week.
Unite regional officer Bob Bolam said: “At the centre of this dispute is an understanding that the Arriva drivers in County Durham are the second lowest paid of all the bus drivers in the Arriva ‘family’ across the UK.
“Pay talks were held with the company on Friday and we are expecting a management response to those negotiations later this week. We also discussed speeding up the increments so that the drivers reach the top of their pay band more quickly.
“The last thing our members want is to take such industrial action in the run-up to Christmas as it will cause massive inconvenience to the travelling public. If the strike goes ahead, we don’t believe Arriva will be able to run more than a few ‘token’ bus services.
“Our members have voted overwhelmingly for pay justice and are not prepared to continue to badly lag behind other Arriva drivers in the country doing similar jobs.
“Unite is ready 24/7 for constructive talks to reach a fair settlement for our members – our door is always open for such negotiations.”