HOPEs were high that the Arriva bus strike could finally end this week after a breakthrough was said to be reached in negotiations over pay.
Arriva bosses claimed - as the Champion went to press - that the strike, which first began on July 20, could end and services resume today, Wednesday, August 17.
This is after Arriva made an “improved offer” that has led to union members taking part in a ballot to decide if they want to accept the pay increase and return to work. The result of the ballot was expected yesterday (Tuesday).
Meanwhile, the Liberal-Democrat group in Southport has accused the resort’s MP Damien Moore, of ‘not doing enough’ to help bring the strike to an earlier end.
Dukes Cllr John Pugh, who is the Lib-Dem’s local group leader, claimed Mr Moore “won’t even pick up the phone” to help resolve the dispute.
But the Southport MP hit back by claiming he has publicly called for Arriva and the unions to halt the strikes.
Cllr Pugh said: “It is absolutely untrue that Mr Moore’s office simply have to sit by and let the strike happen. Any MP worth their salt would be in there, working with both sides to find a solution. Residents are suffering and our MP is doing nothing.”
Mr Moore responded: “I am deeply disappointed see Cllr John Pugh playing party politics on such a vital issue to our town’s residents. I am somewhat puzzled by his apparent oversight of my recent public statement on this matter.
“Whether for hospital appointments, getting to work, or essential food shopping, local bus services are vital to our town’s residents. I have used my platform to publicly call for both Arriva and the unions to renew their efforts to bring the current damaging strike action to an end, in addition to standing up for our vital 44 and 49 bus routes, which have now thankfully been secured. Cllr Pugh knows that I do not have a seat at the negotiating table, and nor do the dozens of other Members of Parliament whose constituencies are impacted by the disruption.
“It is completely disingenuous to imply that dozens of MPs can all sit in the negotiations, and on a personal level I find it deeply disappointing that John would say this knowing it to be false.”