Metrolink workers announce strike to coincide with Parklife festival

Festival-goers will have to make alternative arangements for getting to Parklife this year and Metrolink workers announce strike.
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Metrolink workers have announced a strike for June 10-11 that will coincide with several big Manchester events – including Parklife festival and Soccer Aid, as well as a John Waters gig at the AO Arena and The Weekend at the Etihad stadium.

Parklife, which takes place annually at Heaton Park in Bury, is one of Greater Manchester’s biggest public events. Last year, around 80,000 people attended the festival and the Metrolink is the most direct route to Heaton Park from the city centre.

Unite, the union for Metrolink staff, said that 95% of the 600 plus members voted in favour of taking strike action, with an 84% turnout for the vote.

Why are they striking?

Unite says that staff are facing a “very substantial real terms pay cut” after Metrolink bosses proposed a pay offer of 5% over a 15 month period, considering the inflation rate currently stands at 11.4%. They also said that management have been refusing to enter into further pay negotiations since the end of March.

The union has also pointed at the low starting pay rates for Metrolink workers –  inspectors’ salaries start at £20,000, drivers’ begin at £22,000 and engineers’ at £26,000.

What does Unite say?

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Metrolink is operated by vastly wealthy multinational companies that can fully afford to make our members a fair pay offer but they have chosen not to.

“Our members at Metrolink are frontline workers who play a vital role in keeping Manchester moving. It is incomprehensible that Metrolink thinks it is in anyway acceptable to further suppress their pay when workers are struggling with a cost of living crisis.Unite is now entirely dedicated to defending and enhancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and the workforce at Metrolink will receive the union’s unflinching support.”

Unite regional officer Colin Hayden said: “Strike action is set to cause severe disruption throughout Manchester but the blame for this dispute is entirely Metrolink’s. It has not even been prepared to negotiate on a pay offer that was never going to be acceptable to our members.”