Second union joins in industrial action threat over Metro drivers' pay
Rail union the RMT says it is ‘looking at recommendations for action at Nexus/Tyne and Wear Metro’ after a shunning a 15% pay increase.
The RMT is to hold talks with another rail union, Aslef, which has already expressed disappointment that Metro drivers will not receive equal pay to their counterparts at other operators. Aslef has said it is considering withdrawing overtime working.
Nexus has previously acknowledged an issue with staff retention and has launched a recruitment campaign to add more drivers to its workforce. In October it announced it was process of selecting new trainee drivers from the 2,346 people who applied earlier this year.
The pay rise would take drivers’ annual salaries to £46,000 over the next two years.
But RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT has received a report from our regional organiser recommending we implement the overwhelming ballot result at Nexus and taking the union into a formal programme of industrial action.
“That report will be considered by RMT’s executive.
“It is wholly down to the company that drivers pay and conditions have been allowed to stagnate and slip way behind the industry norm, creating a staffing crisis as drivers head for other train operators where they can get a better deal.
“It is ludicrous for the company to ignore the facts and to run to the media with a megaphone in hand to attack their remaining staff and the unions who are simply looking for a rational settlement that recognises the historic failure to keep pace.”
But Metro services director, Chris Carson, has hit back.
He said: “We’re astonished that this offer has been rejected and that the trades unions not only want more pay, but also to work reduced shift lengths which can only be achieved by us employing significantly more drivers.
“The trade unions have not made any suggestions as to where the money should come from to pay for this.
“Metro is a publicly owned service run for the benefit of the local community.
“Not only does it not make any profit, but it can only operate thanks to significant subsidy paid by taxpayers.”