Tyne & Wear

Tyne and Wear Metro staff's 24-hour strike ends

Picket line at South Gosforth metro
Image caption A picket line was set up at South Gosforth

Tyne and Wear Metro train services are returning to normal after a 24-hour strike came to an end at midnight.

Metro owner Nexus had hoped to resolve a pay dispute with operator DB Regio Tyne and Wear (DBTW) and three unions, but talks broke down on Monday.

The strike involved drivers, staff from the Metro depot and other employees belonging to the Rail Maritime and Transport union, Unite and Aslef.

A further walkout is planned for 21 June.

The 24-hour strike meant thousands of people who went to a concert by Coldplay had to find alternative means of getting to the concert venue at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

Some used a special bus service that had been laid on due to the strike action.

DBTW said the travel arrangements went as well as it could have hoped and that people had heard about the strike and made alternative arrangements.

'Significant disruption'

Director of Customer Services Sharon Kelly said: "I want to thank everyone for their patience. The wet weather certainly didn't help us, but on the whole people were very patient and we managed to get everyone away in just over an hour after the concert finished."

The RMT said that despite lengthy negotiations, DB Regio's offer of a 2.1% wage rise was "far below" the rise in the cost of living.

RMT representative, Micky Thompson, said: "On Monday when we held the five-hour negotiations which ended with the company giving its final offer of 2.1% or £520 there was no indication from DB Regio that they wished to commence with further discussions.

"This union, not just the RMT but Aslef, are more than committed to get back round the negotiating table to try and resolve the current impasse, but on the understanding that we achieve a living wage in line with the Retail Price Index."

Director General of Nexus, Bernard Garner, said he was disappointed that talks had broken down, despite "significantly improved pay".

Ms Kelly said: "As far as we are concerned the doors are open.

"We have left the offer there to the unions that we are happy to talk to them about further negotiations and happy for them to look at ways of bringing productivity measures to the table to fund a further offer."

Metro cleaners have also voted for a 48-hour strike beginning on 10 June in a separate row over pay.

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