Thousands of bus drivers at UK's National Express halt strikes

A National Express bus stops at a bus stop in Colmore Row
A National Express bus stops at a bus stop in Colmore Row, Birmingham, Britain August, 2021. Shaun Fellows/Shine Pix Ltd/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - Thousands of British drivers at National Express (NEX.L) halted "all out strikes" that were due to start this week to vote on an improved pay offer from the employer, their union said on Monday.

Britain has been dealing with a wave of industrial unrest since last year due to a cost-of-living crisis, with workers across sectors, from healthcare to education, walking out to protest against wage rises that have lagged surging inflation.

Unite, which had set out industrial action by 3,200 drivers and 200 engineers at the company's unit, National Express West Midlands, to start on Thursday said indefinite strike action would start from March 20 if the new offer is rejected in the ballot.

"Following significant progress with the company in negotiations, an improved pay offer was made," Unite's regional officer, Sulinder Singh, said in a statement.

The news could help relieve some of the pressure facing the country's transport system, with workers represented by rail workers' union RMT at 14 train operating companies planning to stage strikes across the nation on March 16, 18, 30 and April 1.

Profits at London-listed National Express were boosted by commuters switching to coach to avoid disruption from sporadic rail strikes last year.

The company did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for a comment on Monday on the new pay offer.

Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Sandra Maler

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