Metro strike 'called-off' after last-minute deal
A maintenance strike that could have caused “misery” for Metro passengers next week looks set to be called off.
Members of the Unite and RMT unions at Metro’s depot in Gosforth were due to stage a week-long walkout from Monday, June 28, over a pay dispute.
The unions decided to take strike action after rail giant Stadler, which maintains Metro’s fleet and is building a new £300million set of trains for the network, imposed a pay freeze.
But talks between the Swiss firm and union leaders on Friday have now produced an “amicable solution” that will see the strike called off, Metro operator Nexus confirmed.
A Nexus spokesperson said: “Stadler, which maintains Metro’s train fleet, has advised us that it has successfully concluded an agreement with the RMT and Unite unions which will avert a strike at Gosforth Metro depot that was due to start next week.
“Further talks were held today, Friday June 25, and Stadler have said that an amicable solution was reached over the issue of pay.
“This is subject to ratification by the union executives but is a very positive step.
“Nexus has been actively encouraging all parties to find an agreement, and to use the services of ACAS in order to achieve this.”
The strike was due to run from June 28 to July 4, with a further ban on overtime working to follow from July 5.
But Stadler confirmed on Friday afternoon: “Stadler is pleased to have concluded an agreement with the RMT and Unite unions which will avert a strike at Gosforth Metro depot next week.
“The solution is still subject to ratification by the union executive. We look forward to further cooperation with all parties involved.”
Unite had claimed last week that the strike would “cause Metro misery for the travelling public during the height of the summer”.
Regional coordinating officer Suzanne Reid said at the time: “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.”
The Swiss firm claimed that its pay freeze was “largely because of the impact of the pandemic” and was “confident” that the proposed strikes would not have a knock-on effect for Metro services.
Unite was contacted for a response.