No deal in bid to avert Metro strike

Howdon Metro Station.
Howdon Metro Station.
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THERE will be no Metro services running in Tyne and Wear on Thursday after unions rejected the latest pay offer from the train operators.

A meeting between DB Regio Tyne and Wear (DBTW), which operates the Tyne and Wear Metro on behalf of Nexus, and the three trades unions representing Metro workers, took place on Monday.

DBTW said it made an enhanced pay offer of 2.1 per cent or £520, whichever is the greatest, to the unions; RMT, ASLEF and Unite, in a bid to avert strike action.

However, after five hours of talks, the unions rejected the offer.

Sharon Kelly, customer services director at DBTW, said: “We are incredibly disappointed that the unions rejected the significantly enhanced pay offer which we made to them on Monday.

“We made the increased offer specifically to avoid this industrial action and the inevitable disruption it is going to cause to passengers, and the effect it will have on the economy and image of the north east.

“As well as disrupting passengers who use Metro to get to work or out and about during the half term holiday, it will also impact on people attending the Coldplay concert at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light tomorrow night, who were planning to get there and home again by Metro.

The RMT said that despite lengthy negotiations, DB Regio’s offer of 2.1 per cent was “far below” the rise in the cost of living.

General secretary Bob Crow said: “It is outrageous that workers must be expected to accept pay cuts for an economic crisis they did not create.

“Tyne and Wear Metro workers have delivered the strongest possible mandate for action in three separate ballots and all we are seeking is pay justice and an end to poverty pay.

“The union has been forced to take this action and we regret any inconvenience to those attending the rock concert.”

Another strike is set for June 21, the day of a concert by US music legend Bruce Springsteen at the Stadium of Light.

Full details of services available and arrangements for Thursday, June 7, can be found at www.nexus.org.uk