Services on Manchester Metrolink could be set for major disruption with the news that drivers are currently being balloted over potential strike action in a dispute over pay. Despite the fact that talks are still ongoing between KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM) and Unite officials the ballot has been sent out to drivers asking them if they would be willing to go on strike over the issue.
Drivers have reportedly been offered a 3.3% pay increase along with better pay for unsociable hours worked. This is said to be the same offer as made to other KAM staff who have accepted the deal but driver representatives from Unite have rejected the offer.
Chris Jackson, Service Delivery Director at KAM, said: “Our priority now is to continue with meaningful discussion in a genuine attempt to find a resolution. Our pay offer remains available for Unite’s driver representatives to accept on behalf of its members.”
Danny Vaughan, TfGM Head of Metrolink, added: “TfGM has been informed that KAM and Unite have unfortunately failed to reach an agreement following their discussions and we understand members are being balloted over strike action. Whilst this is disappointing, talks are continuing and we’d encourage Unite and KAM to continue these discussions with a view to finding a mutually acceptable solution. I must stress the outcome of the ballot is not known, so any talk of potential dates is extremely premature.”
For their part Unite officials said Metrolink drivers earnt up to £7,000 less than tram drivers in other cities and were concerned about the increase in anti-social behaviour directed at the trams.
Further talks are due to take place next week. Some media reports are suggesting they could strike over the August Bank Holiday weekend if a deal is not reached and the ballot is in favour of this action.