BUS drivers campaigning for a pay increase have announced a further ten days of strike action.

Unite is to hold talks with Arriva Durham County Ltd on Thursday, January 17 in a bid to resolve the long-running pay dispute.

The final day of a week-long strike is due to end at midnight tomorrow, but the union has this evening announced a further ten days of strike action by its 650 bus drivers, based at Darlington, Durham, Redcar, Stockton and Whitby, from midnight on 27 January until February 5.

Arriva has been running a limited, free service during the presnt strike this week, but there will be no service in Darlington and Stockton tomorrow. Limited services will still run in the Durham, Teesside, East Cleveland and Whitby areas.

The Northern Echo:

STRIKE: The workers say they didn’t want to cause an inconvenience to public and went on strike as a last resort

Unite regional officer Bob Bolam said: “We are due to hold talks with the Arriva management on Thursday in a bid to settle this dispute.

“We will be entering into these talks in a constructive and positive frame of mind. We won’t be commenting further until those negotiations have concluded.

“However, I would like to say we have had excellent solidarity from our members during this week’s strike and they were especially heartened by the support shown by their local communities.”

The bus drivers rejected a revised pay package before Christmas which included 75p on the hourly rate over two years in four instalments. The drivers are seeking an increase £1 per hour on the rates for the year starting March 2018.

Arriva bosses claims its latest pay offer would have made their bus drivers among the best-paid in the region.