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Metrolink strikes to bring Manchester to a summer standstill

Manchester is facing a summer of standstill as workers on the city’s tram system, Metrolink, are to strike following a woeful pay offer.

More than 600 members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, are angry after Metrolink was only prepared to make a pay offer of a 4.5 per cent increase in 2024 despite years of below-inflation pay increases. Unite members want guarantees of above-inflation rises over the next three years due to accepting less than inflation (RPI) last year and a reduction in the pay progression scales within the drivers and customer service roles.

Drivers, engineers, business support and customer service staff will be taking strike action from 25-27 July. Staff are also furious at the pay structure that requires drivers to wait four years to get to the top of their pay scales and as a result losing up to £15,000 despite doing the exact same job as colleagues.

Strikes will see Manchester grind to a halt and affect visitors to Peter Kay’s stand-up comedy, UFC 304 and Manchester’s City Centre Day. Nearly 200,000 visitors are expected in Manchester over the three-day strike period.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "It's reprehensible how companies worth billions like Keolis and Amey can value their workers so poorly while lining the pockets of their shareholders. This is intolerable and our members will not accept it.

“Unite’s commitment to protecting the jobs, pay and conditions of its members is absolute and our Metrolink workers will have the union’s total support throughout this dispute."

Metrolink is owned by a joint venture of Keolis-Amey and runs the contract on behalf of Transport for Greater Manchester. Keolis is a French transport company with billions of euros in revenue while Amey is a British private engineering company, also generating over a billion pounds in revenue a year.

Unite regional officer Colin Hayden added: "This dispute is entirely the making of Metrolink and their parent companies. They can easily afford to pay our members a decent salary after years of real terms pay cuts.

“Our members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action which shows the level of anger and frustration. I urge Metrolink, their parent companies and TfGM to come back with an improved offer rather than continue to demonstrate how little they value their own staff and the communities of Greater Manchester with the current woeful pay offer.”

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