COMMUTERS in Cheshire, Wirral and Merseyside will face more misery as Arriva North West announce further planned walk-outs throughout December over a pay dispute.

More than 2,000 members of unions Unite and GMB will walk-out for 24 hours on 4, 7, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22 and 23 December.

This means that there will be no planned Arriva bus services running in  Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire or Cheshire on those days.

A planned 24 hour strike is also due to go ahead on Monday, November 20. No planned Arriva bus services will operate within Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire or Cheshire (except for services running out of the Chester depot 1, 1A, 15, 15A, DB1, DB2, DB4, 3, 3A, 4, 4A, 10, 10A, 82 and services coming into Chester from Wrexham and Rhyl which will run as normal).

The announcement from Unite comes after crisis talks over pay for 2017/2018 broke down on Thursday, October 12.

Unite is calling for a fair pay award across all depots and for the company to take steps to address wage inequality between depots which is as much as £1.73 an hour.

Under Arriva’s latest pay offer this could rise to £2 an hour.

Regional managing director for Arriva North West Phil Stone said: "Arriva tabled an improved offer for our drivers at last Tuesday’s meeting with UNITE and GMB.

"We are still awaiting the results of UNITE and GMB’s ballot to its members on this improved pay offer.

"It is disappointing therefore that UNITE and GMB have announced further unnecessary strike dates without first confirming the outcome of the ballot and allowing Arriva to respond.

"We are, as ever, keen to meet with the UNITE and GMB to resolve the pay dispute and have requested a further meeting with them this Thursday to put an end to the disruption and inconvenience caused to our customers through strike action.

"As we have said before, any pay offer has to be sustainable for the business going forward and we believe we have put forward a fair pay deal for our drivers.

"Our customers are understandably growing weary of the travel disruption, and we sincerely apologise to them for the inconvenience caused by the continued strike action."

Customers with pre-paid Arriva tickets travelling in Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire or Cheshire will be able to use them on the Merseyrail and Northern rail networks on November 20.

Arriva tickets will also be accepted on Stagecoach Quality Network Routes during strike days.

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