Bus staff at Arriva in Greater Manchester and Merseyside are balloting for strike action amid a dispute in pay, Unite the Union has confirmed today.
Over 1,800 members of staff are said to be involved in the dispute and, if industrial action is voted in, the strikes could begin as soon as July.
The depots involved in the dispute are Birkenhead, Bolton, Bootle, Liverpool, Macclesfield, Manchester, Runcorn, Southport, Speke, St Helens, and Winsford.
Unite the Union says the dispute is a result of Arriva’s ‘pitifully low pay increases’ of 3% and 6%, which both saw reductions in sick pay and loss of Saturday enhanced pay.
According to the union, these pay increases are far below the current real inflation rate (RPI) of 11.1%.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Arriva can full afford to pay our members a fair rate of pay but it is choosing not to do so to boost its profits.”
Unite regional officer Dave Roberts pointed out that while strike action would result in ‘considerable disruption for passengers throughout the North West‘, the dispute is ‘entirely of Arriva’s own making’.
He added: “Despite extensive negotiations it has failed to make an offer which is anywhere close to our members’ expectations.
“Even at this late stage strike action could still be avoided if Arriva returns to the negotiating table and makes a realistic pay offer.”
An Arriva spokesperson said: “We are fully committed to reaching an agreement with Unite for our North West staff and talks are ongoing.”
This comes as the North West braces itself for major travel disruption as a result of train strikes across a number of major operators, including Northern and TransPennine Express.
Network Rail has warned that half of Britain’s rail lines will be closed as strikes happen Tuesday 21st, Thursday 23rd and Saturday 25th June.
The ballot closes on Monday July 4th.
M&S is doing a Christmas piña colada cocktail and it’s on shelves now
This sounds pretty delicious!
M&S shoppers are raving over a festive cocktail that is a Christmas twist on a delicious summer classic, and it’s already on shelves.
Shoppers are going mad for the new festive ‘must have’ with one bargain hunter spotting it already stocked in her local Marks’, which she posted to social media.
The savvy shopper shared a snap of the luxurious gold and red bottle with an Art Deco logo, which quickly went viral with the post racking up over 1,000 likes.
The photo also shows the M&S Christmas Colada is on sale for £5.50 a bottle.
A festive twist on the classic piña colada, it’s flavoured with ‘pineapple juice, coconut milk, and warming spices with two measures of white rum’, and is sure to go down a treat this winter season.
The Christmas bargain was shared to the Snack News & Reviews Facebook page where users rushed to social media to share their excitement for the product, calling it a ‘must have’ as they also praised the price.
A great gift to bring along to Christmas dinner parties, shoppers say it is perfect for something to sip on throughout the season’s festivities.
One person wrote: “Defo getting this wee number for Christmas Day!” Another said: “Wow, two measures. I’ll have three bottles. What is everyone else drinking?”
While a third put: “Ooohhh yes. I can feel a few pre-Xmas party drinks at mine coming on.” And a fourth typed: “M&S pulling it out the bag again with their Christmas drinks!!”
Other users wondered whether M&S’ popular drinks ‘Let it Sloe’ and ‘Slow Fizz’ are back in stock again for the upcoming Christmas season.
It comes after one shopper urged people to head to their nearest M&S immediately as she was able to bag around £100 worth of shopping for just £16.
Victoria Evangeline posted a video on her TikTok saying: “M&S prices are a joke. They are ridiculous at the moment, you’ve got to see this.”
She went on to say M&S are getting rid of all their summer stock to make way for its Christmas range and that’s why some of its prices are so low – so best get down there asap!
Doner kebab lovers ‘scared’ after finding out what goes into their favourite takeaway
Do you dare to know what’s inside them?
People have been put off eating kebabs after finding out the truth of what really goes into their favourite takeaway.
As a weekend treat or just something to soak up the booze after a bender, many Brits flock to kebab shops for a tasty doner topped with chilli sauce, garlic and jalapeños.
Whatever it’s made of, it looks delicious and smells amazing as the juicy meat rotates around while you wait for your order.
But have you ever wondered what exactly makes up the doner meat? And do you even dare to find out?
Well, Jimmy Doherty decided to do just that for Food Unwrapped and he got down to the bare bones of what’s inside this British staple.
He collected nine different doner kebabs from as many establishments and took them to a lab for testing analysis, where scientist Paul Hancock put them under the microscope to find out what lurks within them.
Most of us take for granted that a lamb doner is exactly that and is therefore made up of 100% lamb meat. But Hancock put the takeaway treats to the test.
He searched for other meat sources including chicken, pork and beef, as well as horse, goat and donkey meat.
Low and behold, only one of the nine kebabs brought back to the lab came back as being made up of 100% lamb DNA – though we’re not sure which parts of the lamb specifically.
The rest came back as containing DNA of other animals, as Hancock said: “There’s only one doner kebab that is actually doing the real thing, is the real deal.
“Most of them contain chicken. We’ve also got a couple that contain beef. Fortunately we found no goat, no donkey and no horse in any of the products.”
When Doherty asked the scientist what he thought the outcome would be with a larger sample size, saying: “If I gave you 900 doner kebabs, who knows what kind of results we’d have found?”
Hancock replied: “I would expect to see around a 60% failure rate. That would probably be typical.”
The small scale investigation into what’s inside a doner kebab took a few people by surprise with one fan of the food saying they found it ‘scary’ to know.
One social media user posted in the comments section of the Food Unwrapped Youtube channel: “Even if I could overlook the rubbish mixed in with the meat, the fact that these meats are heated and cooled many times bothers me.”
Another said: “Scary! What is really sad is that only one store out of the nine used lamb. If they can get away with it and it costs them nothing they will do it!”
While someone else added: “This is important to know often these kebab shops people tell people it’s lamb but in reality contains beef and pork too. We might not care what its made of but still should be able to make informed decisions and they should punish these people who just add random stuff.”
Yet some weren’t as put off as you’d think, as one person wrote: “I don’t care what it is made of – as long as the ingredients are honestly listed so I can make an informed choice.”
Someone else typed: “I hope my kebabs are up to scratch but after 18 pints of lager I tend not to question the ingredients…!” and another joked (hopefully): “As long as they taste like they do I’d still eat them even if it had humans in it.”
Strong chance of snow on Christmas Day, according to experts
Snowfall would be like the icing in the cake
Experts have predicted there will be a strong chance of snow falling on Christmas Day this year.
Just a few months remain until the big day, which means the countdown is officially on.
In an early outlook, bookmaker William Hill’s betting odds suggest there’s a pretty strong chance we could perhaps be more than dreaming of a white Christmas this year, with Manchester at 4/1.
Snow is looking good for parts of Scotland as the betting firm have made it just 2/1 in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and 3/1 in Leeds. Winter is definitely coming and the North could be covered in a blanket of snow.
Liverpool and Newcastle can bet on odds of snow falling in their Northern cities at 20/1.
And anyone betting on a snowy winter wonderland this Christmas in the capital can take 11/1, while Gatwick is at 20/1.
Lee Phelps, a spokesperson for William Hill, said: “Before you know it the supermarkets are stacked high with mince pies and everyone is wondering whether we’ll have a White Christmas.
“The early betting makes Edinburgh and Glasgow the leading spots to see snow this year at just 2/1, while anyone who fancies a White Christmas in the capital, London, can take 11/1.
“Of all the markets relating to Christmas released today, the most hotly tipped one has to be King Charles III to reign supreme on Christmas Day, with the royal broadcast looking nailed-on at 1/6 to draw in the day’s highest peak viewership.”
With Christmas inescapably in your face now – as supermarkets have already started stacking their shelves for those who like to shop early and those who may need reminding before it creeps upon you – William Hill also has a list of other Christmas specials.
These include LadBaby to record another festive chart topper at even money and King Charles III’s speech to be the most watched programme on Christmas day, at 1/6.
William Hill odds for snow on Christmas Day 2023:
Edinburgh (Airport) 2/1
Glasgow (Airport) 2/1
Leeds (Leeds-Bradford airport) 3/1
Belfast (Airport) 7/2
New York (JFK International airport) 4/1
Manchester (Airport) 4/1
Birmingham (Airport) 6/1
Cardiff (Airport) 10/1
London (City Airport) 11/1
Bristol (Airport) 20/1
Dublin (Airport) 20/1
Paris (Charles de Gaulle International airport) 20/1
Aberdeen (Airport) 20/1
Liverpool (Airport) 20/1
Newcastle (Airport) 20/1
Gatwick (Airport) 20/1