A Metrolink tram. Photo: Peter Byrne/ POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Manchester was facing the prospect of severe transport disruption on a number of extremely busy days in the city after Metrolink tram drivers voted for strike action.
However, it has been confirmed on Friday that the strike due to take place on Sunday 10 October has been suspended after a revised pay offer was put forward.
It is good news for competitors and spectators at Manchester Marathon and half marathon, who have been advised to travel to the event on public transport due to the road closures in place in Manchester for the races.
Unite had previously warned it was balloting for strike action over the pay dispute and says the result was emphatic, with 97% of those who voted in favour of walking out.
More than 300 drivers and supervisors are members of the trade union.
Talks took place on Thursday 7 October and Unite’s strike action has now been suspended so members can vote on the new, improved pay offer.
Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: “Following lengthy negotiations with Unite, Keolis/Amey has tabled a fresh pay offer.
“Members will now be balloted on the revised pay offer but should that offer be rejected then the remaining strikes will go ahead as scheduled.”
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “By standing united and firm to demand a fair and well-deserved pay rise, Unite members at Metrolink have forced the hand of management and ensured that a fresh pay offer has been tabled. “Unite is utterly determined to secure proper and lasting improvements to the pay and conditions of our members.”
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Metrolink operator Keolis/Amey also spoke after it was confirmed the industrial action was off.
Guillaume Chanussot, managing director at operator KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM), said: “The strike action planned for Sunday 10 October has been cancelled and Metrolink customers can once again travel with confidence.
“We will operate a regular Sunday service on this date, with some additional services to support the Manchester Marathon.”
TfGM’s head of Metrolink Danny Vaughan said: “We’re delighted to now be able to support the marathon with a full Metrolink service on Sunday, although we would still advise planning ahead and allowing extra time for journeys as the trams will be busier than usual.
“We’d also like to remind people of the emergency maintenance work taking place on Saturday morning which will affect some journeys, but which will be completed in plenty of time for the Rugby League Grand Final.
“For those travelling with us this weekend, we have travel information and advice on our website to help you get around.”
If the improved pay offer is rejected then strikes will go ahead on Friday 15 October, Monday 18 October and on Sunday 24 October when Manchester United play Liverpool at Old Trafford.