National Express services are now few and far between after drivers rejected a 14.3 per cent pay rise, with just a handful of routes serving hospitals.
Bus drivers are on picket lines across the West Midlands, including Wolverhampton depot, where they have been holding banners that read: "National Express: Shame on You. Billions in the bank. Lousy pay for workers. Pay up now."
A number of comments on Facebook and Twitter accuse drivers' demands as "pure greed", while others are backing the workers praising them for taking a stand over fairer pay and conditions.
I'm sat on a warm, clean, quiet and smokeless train going to work... And it arrived on time... I think you've lost a customer— Mr D. (@thedutman0) March 21, 2023
Facebook user James Cartwright said he's "with the employees" but expects a turn of events later in the year.
He said: "I'm with employees striking for a better pay and better working conditions but when they are turning down offers like that it's madness.
"They will all be moaning in six months time when the company tells them they've got to make redundancies."
Don't get me wrong I wouldn't want the job but apparently offered 14.3% rise and they're still not happy. I've been offered 5%. #GetInTheRealWorld— 𝗣𝗮𝘂𝗹 (Sign name: Puppet) 🇺🇦💙💛 (@CodeAmidCoffee) March 20, 2023
Nat ky'Lanandamari Williams disagrees saying there are other reasons leading the strikes.
She said: "Its not just pay, its all the strings that are attached to it, the working conditions and the abuse they have to put up with everyday. Oh, and let's not forget the unsociable hours they are expected to work - but hey, it's about greed."
Michelle Jackson said: "Split-shifts drivers are out for 14 hours a day and only getting paid for seven and half hours. They get stupid little breaks so they can't return home - that's really unfair."
What a joke just been on to get a refund for my daughters pass if I claim it they cancel her swift card they making hard for you to claim 😡😡😡— Terence Parker (@Parker8Terry) March 20, 2023
Another Facebook user Kelly Thackery, said: "It's all about greed. They've been offered more than firefighters, train drivers and nurses got offered. It's safer now to be a driver than years ago."
But Robert Burnett, whose Facebook page says he is a National Express driver, replied saying he was assaulted last year.
One commenter under the name IB Dove thinks there's a gap in the market. They said: "Need more competitive companies! There are mini buses (takes 10 passengers) in other countries, they run the same route as ordinary buses. Niche for new businesses!"
Vera Waters said she has been unaffected by the strikes. She said: "I have had a painless journey, thanks to the 35a Diamond bus and the wonderful drivers of the 529 who have worked today to take me from Walsall into Wolverhampton and back."