Travel disruption for Tyne and Wear Metro passengers averted after union bosses for Gosforth depot workers call off strike after agreeing deal with train builder Stadler
Rail engineers at the Tyne and Wear Metro have called off a strike after an 11th-hour pay deal was agreed.
More than 50 staff employed at the Metro’s Gosforth depot by Stadler were due to stage a two-week walkout that it was feared would disrupt train services.
The strike was due to start on Monday, November 14, but was cancelled after the Swiss manufacturing giant came back with an improved pay offer.
Members of the Unite union had rejected an initial four per cent pay increase, which had been branded a substantial real terms pay cut, given the high rate of inflation, but it has now been confirmed they have voted to accept a new deal.
Unite said the latest pay talks produced a “much improved offer for increases to salary and allowances, which will be backdated to January, a £1,000 one-off payment and boosts to overtime rates and health benefits”.
Metro operator Nexus said: “We were advised by Stadler late on Friday afternoon that the planned 14-day strike by Unite trade union members at Gosforth Metro depot had been called off after a fresh round of talks had brought about an agreement.”
The strike had been due to run from November 14 to 28.
While Nexus had said that the action would not lead to the Metro network being shut down, it would have increased the risk of disruption for passengers due to essential maintenance work not being completed.
Stadler said: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Unite on the 2022 offer, which will see our employees receive backdated pay and an increase in their salary in time for Christmas.”
Stadler is currently building the Metro’s new £362 million fleet of trains at its factory in Switzerland.
The union had complained the company had initially offered a “miserable” pay deal to staff enduring a cost of living crisis, yet had reported profits of £119 million in 2021.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “By standing together in their union, these workers secured an improved pay offer from Stadler.
"This result is further evidence that Unite’s total commitment to improving our members’ jobs, pay and conditions is working.”