Metro workers set to be balloted over going on strike - would you support them?

Members of the rail union are set to take a ballot for action over a pay cap.
Ballot for industrial action.Ballot for industrial action.
Ballot for industrial action.

Rail union RMT confirmed today that it will be balloting NEMOL members on Tyne and Wear Metro for both strike action and action short of a strike over the imposition of the Government’s 1% pay cap.

The Tyne and Wear NEMOL (North East Metro Operators Ltd) workforce are classed as local government employees and are therefore caught in the trap of the Government-imposed pay cap.

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They have already rejected the 1% on offer in a referendum ballot and as the employer, NEMOL, has refused to move RMT has now declared a formal dispute and preparations are underway for a ballot.

The timetable will be announced in due course.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash, said: "We have listened intently and considered the views of our NEMOL membership, who through democratic channels have made their position abundantly clear that they are prepared to fight for pay justice irrespective of being caught up in the cross-hairs of the Government’s 1% pay cap.

"With inflation running at 4% our members should not be forced through centrally imposed austerity measures to take a hit on their standards of living just to bail out a Government which seems to have plenty of cash available when it comes to looking after mates in the private train companies and beyond.

“Preparations for the ballot are underway and RMT remains available for talks.”

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NEMOL is an arm’s length company created after March 2017, when Deutsche Bank lost the contract to run the Metro. The drivers and other staff previously employed by the German-based operator were taken back into the public sector.

It is understood that further talks are planned between the two parties before the ballot is due to take place.

A Nexus spokesman said: “We have worked hard with all our trade unions to agree a pay settlement which provides a fair deal for staff within the limits of public sector pay restraint by which Nexus is bound.

“We are still talking to the RMT to understand and address the issues its members have with our offer in order to avoid a ballot for industrial action.”