Tyne and Wear Metro strike averted after engineers accept pay offer

A strike has been averted on the Tyne and Wear Metro after engineers accepted a pay deal. Credit: LDRS

A strike that could have shut down the Tyne and Wear Metro has been averted after engineers accepted a pay offer.

Workers at the Metro’s Gosforth depot, in Newcastle, had imposed a ban on overtime working earlier this week and had threatened to stage a week-long walkout beginning on 20 November if train manufacturer Stadler did not meet their demands.

The union Unite confirmed on Friday 10 November that its 35 members at the depot had voted to accept an improved pay deal from Stadler, ending the industrial dispute.

It had been feared a strike would have completed closed the Metro, adding to travel difficulties caused by the prolonged Go North East bus strike.

Further details on the resolution of the engineer dispute, including the exact result of this week’s ballot of Unite members, have not yet been confirmed.

The union has confirmed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service that workers had voted to accept a new offer and that both the overtime ban and the proposed strike had been called off.

Stadler is building the Metro’s new fleet of trains at its base in Switzerland, but now also has responsibility for maintaining the network’s existing stock of increasingly unreliable carriages.

A spokesperson from Stadler said: “We are pleased that Unite members have voted to accept our improved pay offer. This will allow us all to focus on introducing the new fleet of trains, which will transform the Tyne and Wear Metro for the benefit of passengers.” 

Unite had claimed earlier this week that Stadler had seen its funding from publicly-owned Metro operator Nexus increase by 13.4% this year but had not offered its workers a commensurate pay increase. Nexus subsequently denied that Stadler had received such a large uplift in its fee, saying there had been only a “very small increase”.

Jarrow MP Kate Osborne wrote to Stadler earlier this week, urging the company to “de-escalate tensions and return to the negotiating table” to improve a reported 6% pay rise offer.

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