Anger as Metro strike hits workers and Coldplay fans

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ANGER has erupted over tomorrow’s Metro strike which will leave thousands of Coldplay fans having to make alternative transport arrangements.

It had been hoped that last-minute negotiations would bring a resolution to the strike talks, but the RMT union rejected an improved pay offer.

Having said no to an original increase of 1.3 per cent they also rejected an offer of 2.1 per cent from Metro operator DB Regio Tyne and Wear.

A walkout will take place tomorrow, meaning no Metro trains will operate during the day – or during Coldplay’s Stadium of Light concert.

RMT drivers have been criticised by a Conservative on the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, the council group behind the Metro.

Peter Wood, leader of the combined Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition on the transport authority, said he still hoped industrial action could be avoided.

Mr Wood, deputy leader of the Conservative Group on Sunderland Council, said: “I am bitterly disappointed that the strikes by Metro drivers will go ahead despite last-minute negotiations to avert them.

“The strikes will inconvenience many travellers and hit the regional economy, with the gigs at the Stadium of Light particularly affected, at a time when it needs all the help it can get.

“The Metro is a highly subsidised operation. The fares passengers pay cover little more than half of its operating costs – and Metro drivers are well paid in comparison with other public sector workers.

“If they have to, the people of Tyne and Wear can manage without the Metro, as they do at Christmas and New Year. But even at this late hour I hope good sense prevails and that the strikes will, somehow, be averted.”

Twitter: @SunechoKaty