Arriva Northwest Strikes: Or, Why We All Hate Arriva Now
They're striking over pennies.
Here's a bit of background for anyone who's not in-the-know when it comes to the current Arriva Northwest strikes: Arriva drivers are on between £12-£14 p/h, far above the national minimum wage of £7.05 for under 24's, and £7.50 for those aged 25 and over - pretty decent wage, right? Unfortunately, the owner of Arriva, pan-European public transportation operator Deutsche Bahn has taken Arriva profits and given the owners a 20% pay rise, while giving the drivers of Arriva Northwest a 2% raise. This is hardly fair, but it's how almost every major corporation works - the little man gets screwed while the fat-cats in charge line their pockets. The drivers of Arriva Northwest had requested a 3% pay rise, and they haven't got it, so they're striking. They're also not happy that drivers in other areas that Arriva services are being paid more than them - also not fair.
Here's the thing, though: this is not what strikes are for. Strikes have always been used for things like unsafe working conditions, being paid below the national minimum wage, or not giving paid sick leave. An issue like a geographical pay-gap is typically handled in court, and honestly, if the drivers of Arriva NW think they're in some unique little boat where their company is the only one screwing them financially for the benefit of the men in charge, they're sorely mistaken.
After speaking with a driver on an Arriva bus (on a day when they were actually working), it seems the striking action won't end until they get their 3% raise, which happens to equate to about £0.02p p/h.
So, let me get this straight Barry the Bus Driver, you're stopping the lower-classes from getting places for pennies? And you don't care that people are missing out on seeing loved ones in hospitals either? Right, gotcha.
As I've mentioned, strike action has historically been a tool used to garner public support for an unjust course of action taken by an employer, but Arriva NW drivers have decided to sully the tradition by using it for something that should be being handled by a legal team.
Most people can't afford to be taking taxis to and from work on a weekly basis - if they could, I doubt they'd be taking the bus in the first place - and as a result, a lot of people are losing pay themselves. Social media networks are rife with people tweeting to Arriva NW about the fact they're missing out on wages on a regular basis now because of the drivers, and it's not just the blue-collar working stiff's getting stiffed here.
Benefit claimants (who definitely can't afford taxis) are missing appointments at their benefit centres, and missing just one appointment can land you with a two-week minimum sanction of benefits - which in turn can result in your council tax or rent not being paid by the council. It's not an over exaggeration at all to say that these strikes are potentially resulting in people going hungry for weeks, not being able to pay utility bills or even losing them the roof over their heads. It's a flawed system that if you lose one benefit, you automatically lose another - but that's another rant for another day.
On top of the lost incomes that are the direct result of spoiled Arriva NW drivers, they could be costing people precious moments with loved ones who are in the hospital. Arriva NW has a monopoly on a lot of places - for example, not one bus that isn't Arriva services my local hospital - so to go and visit a sick relative in the hospital, you either have to be able to drive or afford a taxi during strike periods.
This is why I'm happily going to call these drivers selfish and spoiled. They may be in an unfair situation, but the turmoil they're causing by striking over petty change instead of getting a legal team on the case is far larger than their little pay problem. Do they care about the lower-classes who are losing pay and benefits because they want more PENNIES per hour? No, definitely not, because Arriva NW bosses have had several meetings with them to try and stop the strikes and the drivers aren't happy with any of the offers. Again, drivers, if you want the pay gap closed, it's a legal issue - you could sue the company and get much more than pennies because of the discrimination happening to Northwest drivers - but instead, you're striking because it takes less effort. You lazy fucks.
The thing is, you actually had quite a lot of public support...until you did this:
You decided to strike in the run-up to CHRISTMAS.
Not one Arriva NW driver will ever be getting a "thanks" and a smile from me again - something I always made a point of doing until this happened - because you're taking your frustrations out on vulnerable people, not your bosses. You're impacting the lives of the elderly, the lower-classes, and anyone who lives in an "Arriva Only Zone" like I do - you know full well how many people depend on you to get from A to B, but you don't care because striking gets you £50 strike pay a day from your union and requires only that you sit on your arses.
If you're an Arriva NW driver - I hope one day you're dependent on benefits like the myriad people who you're losing income for, and that the next lot of selfish idiots that take your place go on strike so you lose your benefits. Maybe then you'll realise just how pathetic you were actually behaving. Over pennies. When you already earn more than most people.