West Midland tram workers set to vote on strike action

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Unite has warned that the West Midlands could face severe disruption once again with workers set to vote on strike action

West Midland Metro workers are set to vote on whether to strike over pay.

According to Unite the Union, over 170 workers at the tram operators will begin to be balloted on Friday 2 September, with the ballot closing on Friday 23 September. If the workers vote for strike action then stoppages are likely to begin in October.

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The West Midland Metro network stretches across Birmingham and into Wolverhampton. Unite is balloting its members who undertake roles as drivers, customer service representatives, engineers, infrastructure workers and other staff.

Unite say the workers are seeking a minimum pay rate of £27,000 for tram drivers/customer representatives and a £5,000 increase for all other grades that can start at just £21,537. The tram drivers/customer representatives are currently paid just £21,9339.

The West Midlands Metro service opens on Broad StreetThe West Midlands Metro service opens on Broad Street
The West Midlands Metro service opens on Broad Street

What has Unite said?

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members play a vital role in keeping Birmingham and the Black Country moving. Workers were already struggling on poverty pay rates and now they simply can’t make ends meet as a result of the cost of living crisis.

“Unite is entirely committed to improving the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and workers at the West Midland Metro will receive the union’s full support until this dispute is resolved.”

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Unite regional officer Sulinder Singh said: “If industrial action occurs it will undoubtedly cause considerable disruption but this dispute is entirely of the employers’ own making, it has had every opportunity to make a fair pay offer but has refused to do so.”

West Midlands Metro has been contacted for a comment on the strike vote.

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