Dedicated hospital bus services set up for Birmingham strikes, National Express West Midlands announces

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Birmingham bus drivers and other National Express West Midlands workers are going on strike indefinitely from Thursday March 16

National Express West Midlands is set to run a Hospital Route Network in Birmingham and the Black Country during the forthcoming bus strike.

The transport company runs most of the bus services across Birmingham and the West Midlands and it is expected to grind to a halt with an indefinite strike to start next week from Thursday (March 16).

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Unite the Union has announced that its members - who are bus drivers and other workers at National Express West Midlands - will not return to work until an acceptable pay offer has been reached.

In the meantime NX West Midlands has confirm it will run a Hospital Route Network, operating a small number of essential routes during the strike. National Express West Midlands will run the limited Hospital Route Network on Thursday 16 March to Sunday 19 March to the following hospitals:

Birmingham & Solihull

  • City Hospital
  • Good Hope Hospital
  • Heartlands Hospital
  • Solihull Hospital
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Black Country

  • New Cross Hospital
  • Russells Hall Hospital
  • Sandwell District
  • Walsall Manor

Details of timings and frequency are now here: National Express strike updates

Why are bus driver going on strike?

Some 3,000 drivers with the bus service in and around Birmingham voted in favour of the industrial action. They will be joined by over 200 National Express engineers.

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National Express West Midlands said it has offered bus drivers an increase of 13.4%, made up of 11.1% on the base rate backdated to January 2023, and a one-off payment of £630 which works out at 2.3%.

This is on top of an average increase of 6% on pay rates provided already in November 2022. Under this deal, around 75% of drivers would earn more than £30,000. The union has refused to let the drivers vote on the offer.

National Express buses in action in Colmore Row, BirminghamNational Express buses in action in Colmore Row, Birmingham
National Express buses in action in Colmore Row, Birmingham

Unite refutes these claims saying: “The company have offered drivers 11.1 % plus a one-off payment of £630. Moreover, the company’s claims of a six per cent pay deal in November are also incorrect.

“The November agreement addressed issues around work schedules and terms and conditions – any subsequent increase in pay from November was a result of workers being paid properly due to issues being corrected.

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“National Express also claims that Unite is refusing to put its latest offer to members in a vote. A very clear mandate has been given by the workforce during consultations with members and their workplace reps on the minimum that would be accepted. National Express’ latest offer does not reach that minimum and would be rejected.”

A spokesperson for National Express West Midlands added: “We are very sorry to our customers who will be inconvenienced by this strike. We are doing all we can to resolve it and by providing this Hospital Route Network, we are also doing all we can to keep the region moving. We are exploring what other services we can provide during the strike and will keep our customers updated on our website.”

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