TALKS are ongoing in a bid to avoid strike action involving Arriva Cymru bus drivers.

They are set to start a five week long strike this weekend unless last ditch talks between the company and Unite the Union secure an improved pay deal.

If the strikes, which are due to begin this Sunday, go ahead - services are set for severe disruption in North Wales and Chester, with around 400 drivers to take part.

The strike action is set to last until mid December.

Unite said the pay offer was 1.77 per cent backdated to January 1 – well below inflation rates. Arriva said the pay offer is "fair and highly competitive".

Last month a strike by Arriva drivers in the North West of England was averted after an improved offer was made to Unite members.

It is understood a meeting is taking place today between union reps and Arriva.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "It is time that Arriva Cymru’s management woke up and smelled the coffee. The 95 per cent vote in favour of industrial action shows how determined our members are to fight for a better pay deal. And make no mistake, they will have the full backing of Unite during their five week strike.

“They were local heroes in the pandemic, so surely now is the time for that dedication and hard work to be rewarded with a substantial pay rise.”

If the strikes do go ahead, Flintshire Council said it will make "every effort" to ensure that alternative transport arrangements are in place for eligible school pupils who currently travel with a valid and in date Arriva school bus pass.

School pupils who currently access public transport services as fare paying passengers will be required to make alternative arrangements if their scheduled service is not operating.

Wrexham Council said it "would not get involved" in strike action between Arriva and Unite the union. In respect of school transport, it doesn't have school contracts with Arriva, but it is "aware" that children do use public transport in some areas to travel to school.