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National Express bus drivers in West Midlands vote to strike over pay

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More than 3,000 National Express bus drivers in the West Midlands have voted to strike over pay, starting on 16 March, the same day as the next RMT train strike.The Unite union said members voted 96% in favour of industrial action, on a turnout of 72%.The workers will begin “all-out continuous” strike action on Thursday 16 March, the union said, with industrial action to carry on until the dispute is resolved.The National Express drivers will be joined by more than 200 engineers at the company who voted for industrial action over pay in January, bringing the total number of striking workers to more than 3,300.RMT union members from 14 train operators will stage a one-day strike on 16 March after rejecting pay offers from train operators and Network Rail.

University lecturers at more than 150 universities and school teachers across England and Wales are also planning to strike that day.Publishing its annual results on Thursday, National Express said it had “benefited from strikes elsewhere in public transport in 2022”, as its passenger numbers were boosted by people switching from rail because of the recent train strikes.The company made an underlying pre-tax profit of £146m last year, up from £40m in 2021 when travel plummeted because of the Covid pandemic.

Revenues rose 29% to £2.8bn.National Express has reduced the price of single tickets to £2 for adults and £1 for children until 31 March, as part of the government’s Help for Households scheme.Unite said National Express was offering its workers in the West Midlands, a real-terms pay cut, despite the surge in profits.

Some drivers earn £11.80 an hour while doing “an incredibly stressful job”, Unite said.The union’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “National

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