Tyne and Wear Metro strike called off after talks between union and DB Regio

The walkout by train driving members of the trade union RMT was due to effect travel arrangements of the 50,000-plus fans heading to the One Direction concert at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light

The Metro strike has been called off
The Metro strike has been called off

A Metro strike which threatened to cause disruption for concert goers and commuters has been cancelled.

The walkout by train driving members of the trade union RMT was due to effect travel arrangements of the 50,000-plus fans heading to the One Direction concert at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, as well as everyday commuters.

But following talks between the union and Metro operator DB Regio, the strike was cancelled.

Micky Thompson, RMT’s lead officer for DB Regio, said: “The negotiations have obviously been intense and I am pleased to report that both sides have seen common sense.

“We have cancelled the strike action which was planned to commence tonight.

“It’s win win for everybody.”

Sharon Kelly, customer Services and operations director at DB Regio, said: “We are delighted that we have reached a mutual agreement following our meeting with the RMT this morning and strike action is no longer going ahead.

“Following a number of discussions and meetings, we are extremely pleased that they have decided that strike is not the appropriate action and instead normal service will be resumed.

“This is great news for all of our passengers who use Metro to commute, as well as those travelling to the One Direction concert at the Stadium of Light.

“We do still advise that concert-goers ensure plenty of time for their journey as this event is extremely popular and we are therefore expecting our services to be busier than usual.”

The strike had been called by the union following the sacking of its member Michael Pringle, under DB Regio’s policy on sickness leave, which bosses branded “unfair.”

The threat came on the back of an RMT strike over pay in June 2012 when Coldplay played at the Stadium of Light.

Similar action had been planned for a Bruce Springsteen concert at the venue later that month but was cancelled after the pay dispute was resolved.

Talks between the RMT, which represents around 40% of Metro drivers, and DB Regio took place on Thursday but failed to yield a solution.

On Friday afternoon, the Metro operator urged the union to agree to independent arbitration, but the RMT refused.

Following yesterday’s talks, a union statement claimed DB Regio had made an offer of settlement which was acceptable to Mr Pringle.

Mr Thompson added: “It is a deal that has satisfied both sides of the discussions and it’s satisfied the member.”

The cancellation was welcomed by Metro owner Nexus.

Deputy director general Tobyn Hughes said: “I’m pleased that the strike has been called off.

“Common sense has prevailed and a day of major disruption to thousands of our customers has been averted.

“Metro services will now operate as usual tomorrow and there will still be extra services for the One Direction concert in Sunderland.”

Doors open at 5pm and concert-goers are being urged to use St Peter’s and Stadium of Light stations only, before and after the event.

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Metro strike cancelled - Industrial action called off after talks

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