Arriva bus drivers in Greater Manchester and across the North West are to begin strike action today over pay disputes.
Bus passengers throughout the region are being warned to expect disruption as the majority of the company’s buses will not be running starting from today (20 July), when members of the Unite and GMB unions begin striking for an “indefinite period” of time.
After staff were said to have been in negotiations with the company over pay for the past three months, 96% of union members voted for strike action, and from today, more than 1,800 Arriva workers in Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and Merseyside will not go to work.
Despite the three-month negotiations, and Arriva having already offered workers a pay rise of 8.5%, GMB union says this offer had “not met inflation rates”.
Arriva now wants union members to vote on this latest pay offer.
“No worker should be struggling to cover their bills, but in the face of a cost of living crisis, Arriva needs to get real on its pay offers,” said Robbie Marnell, Regional Organiser at GMB Union.
“Hopefully the company will listen and get back around the table with a fair offer.”
Howard Farrall – Operating Director at Arriva UK’s North West & Wales Area – said strike action is “counter-productive” in response, and claims it “harms the communities and customers we serve, and damages bus travel at a time when we should all be focused on building recovery from the pandemic.”
He called on Unite and GMB to abandon plans for “this damaging strike” and to “ballot their members on the new offer.”
Arriva customers with pre-paid tickets travelling in Cheshire will be able to use them on buses operated by D&G Buses, and services running out of the Chester depot, and into Chester from Wrexham and Rhyl, are unaffected and will continue to operate.
Bus services by other operators are also expected to be running as normal in Greater Manchester.
Body found at Bolton restaurant and suspected cannabis farm days after fire
A body has been found at the site of a fire in Bolton, days after a blaze ripped through a restaurant.
It’s believed that the fire started on the first floor of the property, with early inquiries suggesting it may have been used as a cannabis farm.
Human remains were found at the premises on Bolton Road in Farnworth.
A criminal investigation is now underway and Greater Manchester Police are appealing for information and footage relating to the incident.
Emergency services had first been called to the area at around 1pm on Monday 27 November, to reports of a fire.
Earlier today, Saturday 2 December, a body was found during a search of the restaurant building, days after the fire.
Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Naismith of GMP Major Incident Team said: “Work is ongoing to identify the deceased and we are committed to ensuring the potential family members are fully supported and informed of updates in this investigation.
“The loss of life is a tragedy and I understand the upset this news will cause in the local community. I can assure you on behalf of the investigation team that we are determined to get to the bottom of what has occurred and establish the circumstances surrounding the fire.
“I can confirm this fire is being treated as suspicious and if there is any criminal responsibility, it will be brought to light and dealt with appropriately. We are particularly interested to hear from anyone who knows how this building was being used in the lead up to 27 November 2023.
“I would also like to appeal to anyone with information about the fire itself – including if you have any footage (such as CCTV, mobile or dashcam) – to contact GMP’s Major Incident Team.”
You can make a report by calling 0161 856 1995 quoting log number 1485 of 27/11/2023 or via the reporting function on GMP’s website: www.gmp.police.uk
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Tameside police officers hailed ‘absolute heroes’ after saving the life of a seven-year-old girl
Two Tameside police officers have been hailed as “absolute heroes” after saving the life of a seven-year-old little girl.
It comes after emergency services were called to an address in the Greater Manchester borough of Tameside earlier this week (29 November), and found a young girl who was struggling to breath and coughing up blood after choking on a sweet.
Police Constables Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell, from Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) Tameside division, were first on the scene.
To the huge relief of the girl’s parents, who were said to be “understandably distressed” and concerned for her welfare, PC Kincaid jumped straight into action and was able to utilise his first aid training to full effect by going on to successfully dislodge the sweet from the youngster’s throat, and then helping to calm her down before the paramedics arrived.
Whilst PC Kincaid looked after the little girl, PC Blundell did “everything he could” to help the parents remain calm.
Paramedics then took over once they arrived, and the young girl was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Reflecting on the incident, and hailing his officers “absolute heroes”, Superintendent Mike Walsh, from GMP’s Tameside district, said: “PCs Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell acted without hesitation during the incident, and took control of the situation that they were faced with.
“They deserve every credit for staying calm under extreme pressure and for working together as a team and utilising their training to lifesaving effect, and I’m sure the girl’s parents and family will consider them to be absolute heroes.”
“We’re both glad that we were in the right place at the right time,” PC Kincaid added.
“I have a daughter the same age as the little girl who needed our help, and I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was when she started breathing normally and said she was okay after I had managed to dislodge the sweet.