Supertram staff set to strike over pay offer

Drivers and conductors on Stagecoach Supertram have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over the pay rise offered to them for the next two years. More than 9 in 10 of those from the Unite union who voted were in favour of the action and now both sides are to sit down together again to try and avert the obvious disruption this will cause to travellers on the network.

There is debate between the two sides as to how big the pay rise offers are with the union claiming it is between 2.2% and 2.4% with Stagecoach Supertram saying it is between 2.2% and 2.8%. Whatever the figures are there are probably many people out there who would be delighted with pay rises of that figure in recent years.

The offer would see staff getting 26p an hour rise for the next two years with this said to amount to a 2.8% rise in year one and 2.7% in year two for conductors (who currently earn £9.40 an hour) and 2.2% each year for drivers (on £11.78 per hour).

The statistics of the vote – including more than 200 drivers and conductors, said to be the majority of those who work on the trams – are that 91.7 back strike action and 95.8% were in favour of industrial action short of a strike. There was an 83% turnout.

Steve Clark, Unite regional officer, commented: “The massive vote in favour of industrial action should be a wake-up call to Stagecoach bosses running Sheffield’s Supertram. With inflation eating into wages the current pay offer falls short of the aspirations of our members who work hard to keep Sheffield on the move. Bosses should be under no illusion. Industrial action is a last resort, but our members are prepared to take it to achieve a fair pay rise. We would urge the company to seize the opportunity of last ditch talks next week and table a revised offer that better reflects the important contribution Sheffield’s Supertram drivers and conductors make to the smooth running of the city’s transport system.”

In response a spokeswoman from Stagecoach Supertram said: “We are extremely disappointed at the result of the union ballot. We made a very fair offer to our employees, however the union was demanding an unrealistic settlement which is more than double the average pay increase across the UK economy. Nothing will be gained by strike action, which would have a negative impact on local people and the economy in Sheffield, as well as weakening the Supertram business and reducing the money available for pay awards. Supertram will not be profitable during the current rail replacement works and costs need to be maintained at a level that will support the future wellbeing of the business for everyone. We remain open to further discussions with the union and would urge them to sit down with us to talk through realistic solutions.”

Further talks will take place between the two sides on Monday 2nd July. No date has yet been set for any potential strike action.

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