Depot staff from Tyne and Wear Metro to strike for seven days

Staff from the Tyne and Wear Metro are set for seven days of industrial action starting this month, on the 28th June.

The Unite and RMT union members are striking over a pay dispute with their employer, Swiss rail giant Stadler, and the unions say it's in response to a wage freeze.

The depot workforce transferred to Stadler in October 2020 as part of the contract Nexus signed with the Swiss company to design, build and maintain the new Metro train fleet.

Nexus added: “We are encouraging both sides in this dispute to seek a resolution as soon as possible.  The last thing Metro and its customers need is industrial action as we start to recover from the impact of the pandemic.”

Unite regional coordinating officer Suzanne Reid said: “The responsibility for these strikes, which will cause Metro misery for the travelling public during the height of the summer, sits squarely with Stadler. 

“Stadler is in excellent financial health and has benefited from the hard work of our members who maintained the Metro stock 24/7 right through the pandemic.

“The very least they deserve is a reasonable pay rise, but instead Stadler has chosen to hoard its considerable profits and freeze their wages. 

Stadler have said in response:

"Stadler is keen to reward our staff for their hard work to get trains out safely and smoothly every day for passengers using the Tyne and Wear Metro. We have recently undertaken a comprehensive review of our employee benefits and have made several enhancements, such as better paternity and maternity pay.

"It is disappointing that RMT and Unite members at Gosforth depot have chosen to undertake strike action. Stadler is confident that we can provide the same high level of service that the travelling public can rightfully expect, with the timetable unaffected by these strikes. 

"We are keen to see this dispute resolved and have stressed to the unions that we are always open to discussions with them, so that a solution can be found quickly for the benefit of our staff and the passengers we serve."