Metro strike to go ahead on day of One Direction gig in Sunderland

A strike by Metro drivers on the day of a One Direction concert at the Stadium of Light  is still set to go ahead    

Pop superstars One Direction
Pop superstars One Direction

A strike by Metro drivers on the day of a major concert in the region is still set to go ahead after talks failed to bring resolution.

Drivers who are members of the RMT union are planning a walkout next Wednesday in protest at Metro operator DB Regio’s sacking of a colleague.

The strike coincides with pop group One Direction’s gig at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, which will be attended by more than 50,000 fans.

Talks between the union and DB Regio took place yesterday but failed to yield a solution with RNT last night insisting the strike would go ahead as planned.

However, concertgoers have been assured there will be “high frequency” services between Newcastle and Sunderland before and after the event, with a reduced timetable to operate on other parts of the system throughout the day and early line closures.

A metro train
A metro train
 

The RMT, which represents around 40% of the approximate 200 Metro drivers, announced the planned strike on the back of a previous walkout by members over pay on the day of a Coldplay concert at the Stadium of Light in 2012.

The union had planned similar action for a Bruce Springsteen gig at the venue the same month but that was cancelled after the pay dispute was resolved.

Talks between the RMT and DB Regio took place yesterday with union boss Sean McGowan later confirming: “The action is still going ahead.

“The company have made an offer which is very derisory in our opinion and that of our dismissed member.

“I have spoken to our executive and they have instructed me to tell the company that the planned action is still going ahead.”

He nevertheless said the union remained available for further talks right up until the end of Tuesday.

Last night, DB Regio urged the RMT to call off the strike. A statement said: “There will be a Metro train every 15 minutes during the day between Newcastle and Sunderland rising to a train every five minutes after 4pm, with the high-frequency service continuing after the event to make sure large crowds can get away from the venue.

“But there will be reduced train service on other parts of the system including early evening line closures if the strike goes ahead.”

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