A severely reduced service has run on Stagecoach Supertram on Monday 9th July with the first of a series of days of strike action taking place over the latest pay offer to drivers and conductors. Showing their usual disregard for the travelling public the Unite union has also announced further days of action during the popular Tramlines festival later in July.
A revised pay offer had been given to union members last week which – coupled with a reduction in the working week – would have reportedly seen a 6.8% hourly rise for conductors and 5.8% for drivers but this was rejected with 69.7% (of those who voted) rejecting the offer (the original ballot had seen 91% voting for strikes). Unite officials claimed that the offer would still only amount to an extra 26p an hour which they claim is “derisory”.
The first day of the strike took place on Monday 9th July with the second due to be on Thursday 12th July. On both days a bus service was due to run between 0700 and 1900 only from Halfway to the City Centre and Middlewood to Meadowhall with a very limited tram service also being offered during the same period.
Ahead of the first strike the union also announced a 72 hour strike from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd July which just so happens to cover the entirety of the popular Tramlines Festival which is said to bring £9 million to the local economy. With many visitors to the festival traveling by tram this will have a massive effect and Stagecoach Supertram are now talking to the event organisers to put alternative plans in place.
A warning was also given to employees going on strike that the improved pay offer may have to be withdrawn if the action went ahead as they would have reduced money available to fund any increase.
As always happens in disputes such as these there is no winner and the big losers end up being the travelling public who are unable to take their usual journeys to work – many of whom would probably love to see a pay rise in these percentages.