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25.01.18

RMT prepares to ballot members over Tyne and Wear Metro strikes

The RMT is considering strike action on yet another network – the Tyne and Wear Metro in Newcastle.

Following the union striking on Docklands Light Railway on New Year’s Eve and carrying out a string of strikes across five heavy rail operators in early January, RMT leadership said that it would be balloting its members on whether to take action over the imposition of the government’s 1% public sector pay cap.

As the North East Combined Authority is the parent authority of Nexus, who runs the Tyne and Wear Metro, its employees are local government workers, and so fall under the remit of the pay cap.

The strike concerns staff at working at Tyne and Wear's Metro Services, the arms-length company that was created when the Metro operating concession with Deutsche Bahn ended in March 2017.

RTM understands that of the 540 Metro staff employed, 200-250 are represented by the RMT, while the rest are affiliated with Aslef and Unite, who have already accepted the pay deal. 

RMT members have already rejected the 1% offer in a referendum ballot, and now may take it further as a formal dispute has been declared.

“We have listened intently and considered the views of our NEMOL membership, who through democratic channels have made their position abundantly clear that they are prepared to fight for pay justice irrespective of being caught up in the cross-hairs of the government’s 1% pay cap,” said RMT general secretary Mick Cash.

“With inflation running at 4% our members should not be forced through centrally imposed austerity measures to take a hit on their standards of living just to bail out a government which seems to have plenty of cash available when it comes to looking after mates in the private train companies and beyond.

“Preparations for the ballot are underway and RMT remains available for talks.”

A spokesman for Nexus told RTM that the company had worked hard with all its trade unions to agree a pay settlement which provides a fair deal for staff within the limits of public sector pay restraint by which Nexus is bound.

“We are still talking to the RMT to understand and address the issues its members have with our offer in order to avoid a ballot for industrial action," he stated. 

Sources also told RTM that further talks with the RMT were going to take place in the future. 

Top Image: Phil Thirkell

Comments

Ian Watkins   25/01/2018 at 12:37

So if the railways were renationalised????

Pete   25/01/2018 at 13:13

Optimistic of the RMT to think that striking on a regional light rail network is going to overturn one of the central economic policies of a Tory government that’s shown zero intent to negotiate with the unions in eight years. A strike will achieve nothing more than pissing people off.

Gw   26/01/2018 at 19:38

Welcome to Mr Corbyn's future. About time drivers got a 1% pay increase!

Andrew JG   27/01/2018 at 18:30

Wouldn’t mind if he did take over and re-nationalise our railways. Used to vote for Labour before I went to UKIP & Green Party. I hope Mr Corbyn can reinstate our railways to be run by the British people and not by foreign rail companies taking over our railways. #BringBackBritishRail

J, Leicester   29/01/2018 at 10:27

Well, maybe if they'd let DB Regio keep the T&W Metro franchise, this wouldn't have happened! This happening so soon after the keys being handed back to the public sector doesn't exactly help dispel the narrative that a nationalised network would be absolutely at the mercy of unions. I must also say that I found the DLR strike hilarious, and a perfect example of why driverless trains may well be worth pursuing. It was completely ineffective. Maybe Nexus should look at driverless trains for their newly-opened rolling stock tender?

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