Who’s on strike today and how will it affect you? Daily update for March 20

‘Indefinite’ and ‘strike’ are words you do not want to see next to each other in a sentence.

Alas, this is what is happening after the National Express was accused of ‘union busting’ tactics.

More than 3,000 members of Unite, employed by the coach operator in the West Midlands, are walking out from today.

A limited service, mainly serving major hospitals, will run after drivers ‘rejected an improved offer of a 14.3% pay increase’.

The strike, which started to affect service from 10.30pm on Sunday, will hit about 93% of the bus network, the union warned.

It comes after National Express did not allow members to vote on the offer during meetings at their depots. 

Regardless, Unite had already recommended members reject the deal because it has ‘more strings attached than a grand piano’.

Lead national officer Onay Kasab said: ‘National Express have said time and again that Unite has not allowed our members a proper say on the pay deals they have put forward.

‘The company’s arguments have now been exposed as hot air. The truth is this: National Express drivers have had enough. 

‘Our members are clear the offer needs to improve to reflect rising prices and the incredibly hard job they do.

‘This will also benefit West Midlands services as it will help solve National Express’ recruitment and retention problems.’

The drivers work for the company’s local bus service in the West Midlands – not the white coach division – so National Express scheduled white coaches are not affected.

Who else is striking today?

University staff are also kicking off this week’s action as part of a months-long row over pay, working conditions and pensions.

More than 70,000 staff at 150 universities are striking today, tomorrow and then on Wednesday.

The University and College Union (UCU) called off more than two weeks of strikes spread over February and March, but this week’s strikes are going ahead.

Meanwhile, Ofsted members working in the Applications, Regulatory and Contact (ARC) team and Inspection Support Centre (ISC) are continuing their strike.

They are walking out from Monday to Wednesday on every week this month in an attempt to secure a pay rise.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union warned the action is expected to delay responses to queries and complaints from the public and schools.

It will also impact on calls and inspection notices going out and limit the support available to inspectors.

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