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Bus drivers at UK's National Express accept 16.2% pay deal

FILE PHOTO: A National Express bus stops at a bus stop in Colmore Row

LONDON (Reuters) - More than 3,000 bus drivers at a central England division of National Express have ended strike action after voting to accept a 16.2% pay rise, the Unite union said on Saturday.

Britain has had waves of disruptive strikes in recent months as hundreds of thousands of transport, health, education and public-sector workers demanded higher wages to keep pace with surging inflation and an accelerating cost of living.

Unite said the pay deal at National Express West Midlands also guarantees the implementation of new terms and conditions agreed last year.

“This is an important win for Unite members. By standing together our members at National Express secured an above inflation pay offer," Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said.

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A National Express West Midlands spokesperson said the company was pleased drivers had voted in favour of accepting the offer and apologised to customers for the recent disruption to services.

With UK inflation rising to 10.4% in February, the Bank of England is watching pay settlements closely as it weighs any further rises in interest rates.

(Reporting by James Davey. Editing by Jane Merriman)