BUS drivers across North Wales are set to start a five-week long series of strikes after the company failed to come to an agreement with union representatives over the increase of "poverty pay".

Strike action is set to begin this weekend and last continuously until mid December after what Unite the Union describes as a failure of Arriva Cymru to make "any significant improvement" in its pay offer to workers.

It follows crunch talks between Unite and Arriva Cymru held over the last day, talks which have failed to appease union members.

Unite said: "Despite talks taking place over recent days Arriva’s intransigence has left workers with no choice but to commence their planned strike action this Sunday."

Arriva Cymru drivers were reportedly offered a 0.29p an hour increase whilst Arriva workers over the border in the North West of England have been offered 0.39p.

In addition to this, the current pay differential between Welsh and North West Arriva drivers is £1.81 an hour.

Bus services across North Wales will now face severe disruption - with around 400 Unite members working at depots including Hawarden (Chester), Wrexham Llandudno, Rhyl, Bangor and on Anglesey to strike continuously from Sunday (November 14) until December 19.

The strike follows a ballot of Arriva drivers where 95 per cent of them voted in favour of the industrial action.

Unite's general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Arriva Cymru has chosen not to offer their loyal Welsh workforce the pay offer they deserve.

"Their failure to tackle poverty pay will now result in severe disruption to bus services and the people of North Wales. Our members are united and they will receive the full backing of Unite over the next five weeks of strike action."

Jo Goodchild, Unite regional officer, added: "Arriva Cymru has completely misjudged the level of anger there is amongst its workforce. Welsh workers are not willing to accept inferior terms and conditions to their colleagues in other parts of the UK.

"The company has wasted the opportunity to see sense and offer Welsh workers a deal comparable to its operations in the rest of the UK that begins to tackle poverty pay rates.

"Our members resolve is very strong and we expect this strike to be rock solid, Arriva must recognise that they are in for a long fight. The blame for the huge disruption this strike will cause lies firmly and squarely at the door of Arriva Cymru”.

Commenting on the proposed strike action from this Sunday, Arriva Buses Wales said: “Further to on-going talks this week with our Trade Unions partners, Unite, we have put forward another improved offer which is highly competitive and this will be taken to a fresh ballot with our colleagues on Thursday and Friday this week.

"We want to reach full resolution with this latest offer, but for any of our customers who are planning to travel from Sunday, we would strongly urge them to check for updates before they travel.

"If a strike goes ahead, regrettably Arriva Buses Wales will not be able to run from Sunday. We will provide an update as the situation becomes clearer in the coming days.”