DCSIMG

Metro will run for One Direction concert in Sunderland despite strike threat

TRAVEL THREAT ... for fans going to One Direction's gig at the Stadium of Light next Wednesday.

TRAVEL THREAT ... for fans going to One Direction's gig at the Stadium of Light next Wednesday.

 

ONE Direction fans have been reassured they will be able to travel on the Metro to and from the gig – despite a planned strike.

Transport bosses have said trains will run every five minutes between Newcastle and Sunderland before and after the band’s concert at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland AFC had hit out at the “cynically timed” strike action announced for next Wednesday.

But after crisis talks late yesterday between the club, Metro bosses and the police, services to help fans get to and from the gig have been laid on.

Trains will run every 15 minutes between Newcastle and Sunderland – increasing to every five minutes after 4pm.

Gary Hutchinson, commercial director, Sunderland AFC: said “There was a determination from everyone involved in the planning of the concert that those attending should not be inconvenienced by the proposed industrial action.

“We are confident that the contingency plans agreed by all parties will ensure that people coming to see One Direction will still be able to get to and from the Stadium of Light by Metro should they wish to.

“I am delighted that we have found a positive resolution to the matter. It is very much business as usual as far as we are concerned, and we are looking forward to a fantastic event for the city of Sunderland and the North-East region.”

More than 50,000 excited young fans will descend on the home of the Black Cats on Wednesday, many of whom will travel via the Metro.

The strike action will mainly affect trains between Gosforth and the Airport, as well as Pelaw to South Shields.

This is the third time action has coincided with a Stadium of Light gig.

Planned strikes were lifted for the Bruce Springsteen gig in 2012, but went ahead for the Coldplay concert the same year, leading to extra buses having to be laid on.

Gary Hutchinson, commercial director at Sunderland AFC, who has spearheaded the drive to bring concerts to the stadium, has spoken of his frustration over the RMT strike and said it had been “cynically timed”.

He added: “There has been more than 12 months of detailed planning gone into this concert, working in partnership with agencies from across the region.”

Mr Hutchinson added that the shows, which plough millions of pounds into the local economy, are about more than music.

“The regional economy has benefited to the tune of over £50million in the five years of hosting shows at the Stadium of Light,” he said.

“They offer a fantastic opportunity for us here in the North East to highlight our expertise in hosting major events and yet, despite all the hard work we have put in, we find ourselves dealing with this when the concert is only days away.”Metro bosses met with city leaders late yesterday to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum.

Sharon Kelly, operations manager for the transport giant, said: “We are making the line between Sunderland and Newcastle a priority to support the concert.”

The strike has been called over the dismissal of a union worker and has not been timed to cause disruption to the gig, say union bosses.

Sean McGowan, RMT relief regional organiser for the north, said: “The RMT never strikes to cause maximum disruption – that’s not what we’re about.

“Our members actually lose money to strike to make networks safer, such as on the London Underground.

“We hope the travelling public see that. Now and again the strikes fall on busier days, such as with this concert, but that’s not something we’d considered.”

Speaking about the dismissal of a union member from the North East, which sparked the strike action, he said: “The well- being policy is about getting people back to work in sound mind and body, and they are using it as a disciplinary tool.

“This is a man who had been seriously ill, and had doctors notes covering that.

“He’s since made a full recovery, but they dismissed him anyway.”

He added: “This is a man with 36 years’ loyal service and we don’t think his dismissal is acceptable.”

RMT say members voted massively in favour of the action.

Transport bosses have said trains will run every five minutes between Newcastle and Sunderland before and after the band’s concert at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland AFC had hit out at the “cynically timed” strike action announced for next Wednesday.

But after crisis talks late yesterday between the club, Metro bosses and the police, services to help fans get to and from the gig have been laid on.

Trains will run every 15 minutes between Newcastle and Sunderland – increasing to every five minutes after 4pm.

Gary Hutchinson, commercial director, Sunderland AFC: said “There was a determination from everyone involved in the planning of the concert that those attending should not be inconvenienced by the proposed industrial action.

“We are confident that the contingency plans agreed by all parties will ensure that people coming to see One Direction will still be able to get to and from the Stadium of Light by Metro should they wish to.

“I am delighted that we have found a positive resolution to the matter. It is very much business as usual as far as we are concerned, and we are looking forward to a fantastic event for the city of Sunderland and the North-East region.”

More than 50,000 excited young fans will descend on the home of the Black Cats on Wednesday, many of whom will travel via the Metro.

The strike action will mainly affect trains between Gosforth and the Airport, as well as Pelaw to South Shields.

This is the third time action has coincided with a Stadium of Light gig.

Planned strikes were lifted for the Bruce Springsteen gig in 2012, but went ahead for the Coldplay concert the same year, leading to extra buses having to be laid on.

Gary Hutchinson, commercial director at Sunderland AFC, who has spearheaded the drive to bring concerts to the stadium, has spoken of his frustration over the RMT strike and said it had been “cynically timed”.

He added: “There has been more than 12 months of detailed planning gone into this concert, working in partnership with agencies from across the region.”

Mr Hutchinson added that the shows, which plough millions of pounds into the local economy, are about more than music.

“The regional economy has benefited to the tune of over £50million in the five years of hosting shows at the Stadium of Light,” he said.

“They offer a fantastic opportunity for us here in the North East to highlight our expertise in hosting major events and yet, despite all the hard work we have put in, we find ourselves dealing with this when the concert is only days away.”Metro bosses met with city leaders late yesterday to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum.

Sharon Kelly, operations manager for the transport giant, said: “We are making the line between Sunderland and Newcastle a priority to support the concert.”

The strike has been called over the dismissal of a union worker and has not been timed to cause disruption to the gig, say union bosses.

Sean McGowan, RMT relief regional organiser for the north, said: “The RMT never strikes to cause maximum disruption – that’s not what we’re about.

“Our members actually lose money to strike to make networks safer, such as on the London Underground.

“We hope the travelling public see that. Now and again the strikes fall on busier days, such as with this concert, but that’s not something we’d considered.”

Speaking about the dismissal of a union member from the North East, which sparked the strike action, he said: “The well- being policy is about getting people back to work in sound mind and body, and they are using it as a disciplinary tool.

“This is a man who had been seriously ill, and had doctors notes covering that.

“He’s since made a full recovery, but they dismissed him anyway.”

He added: “This is a man with 36 years’ loyal service and we don’t think his dismissal is acceptable.”

RMT say members voted massively in favour of the action.

 

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