Strike dates confirmed for Manchester Metrolink

Manchester Metrolink services look set for severe disruption on four dates in September and October after members of Unite the Union voted in favour of walking out in a dispute over a new pay offer for drivers. Described as “pitiful” by the Union the offer was made after months of negotiations and is said to equate to a real terms pay decrease.

The offer made is for a 0.3% back dated pay increase for the period January to March 2021 and a 0.7% pay increase for April 2021 to April 2022. In their press release announcing the strikes, Unite said that this 1% increase for a 15 month period is in reality a large pay cut in real terms as the PRI inflation rate is at 3.8% at the current time.

In a vote amongst over 300 drivers and supervisors, 97% of the votes were in favour of industrial action and the following dates have initially been set:

  • Saturday 25th September
  • Sunday 26th September
  • Sunday 10th October
  • Sunday 24th October

These dates affect football matches at Old Trafford (including Manchester United v Liverpool on the last date), the Greater Manchester Run and the Manchester Marathon. Unite the Union have also said they reserve the right to call further strike dates in between these dates, depending on the response of management.

Dave Roberts, Unite regional officer, said: “Metrolink tram workers, who continued to work throughout the pandemic, are simply not going to accept a frankly pitiful one per cent pay deal. Unite has been seeking to resolve this matter for six months without success and our members now believe that as a last resort they have no other option but to take strike action. Strike action and the inevitable disruption that will bring can still be averted if management returns to the negotiating table with a realistic pay offer. Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers’ living standards.”

In response KeolisAmey Metrolink (operators of Metrolink) said in a very brief statement: “Clearly, we are disappointed with the ballot result, but we will continue to engage with Unite to work towards an agreement that prevents any strike action, and the subsequent impact on services to our passengers.”

Danny Vaughan, TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, also commented: “It’s disappointing that members have voted in favour of industrial action, and I would appeal to both sides to work together to find a resolution, while there is still time. There is no good time for strike action, but the days picked will impact on participants and spectators of some very significant and much-welcome events, which have returned to Manchester post-covid. Our priority will be to limit disruption as much as possible and we will work with KAM and other transport operators to make sure people can still enjoy these events, even if Metrolink services are not running on those days. Plans are still being developed, but we are committed to letting people know what services will be running, if any, and what alternative transport options will be available in the event of any strike as soon as possible.”

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