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Posted on 7 June 2012 at 15:45 GMT

Tyne & Wear Metro strike, 7.6.12, photo Elaine Brunskill

Tyne & Wear Metro strike, 7.6.12, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

Tyne & Wear Metro strike for improved pay

"Today there's not a single train running on the Metro", one of the the striking workers told us as Metro workers from the RMT, Aslef and Unite staged a 24-hour strike.

RMT regional organiser Micky Thompson said: "The reason for this strike is the failure of DB Regio (Metro operator) to offer our members who work on Tyne and Wear Metro a pay award in line with the cost of living or the retail price index".

He went on to say that support from the travelling public was great and that "no trains have moved and the only ones working are a couple of non union members".

On the picket line there was anger at comments in the local media about the high wages of Metro rail drivers.

Aslef branch secretary Trevor Graham said: "When management do a TV interview all they go on about is our good wages.

"What they don't do is mention what we do to earn that money. Drivers' first signing on is 4.30am. I'm up at 3am to get to work. We've got to ensure the trains are safe to run".

He added: "The Metro runs every day of the year bar Christmas and New Years Day. When others are off for bank holidays, taking their families out, we're at work.

"We haven't got a social life, because of the works' drug and drink policy. If we want to go out for a drink, we have to plan ahead".

Trevor contrasted the shift patterns and unsociable hours they work to management's work: "They come into work at 8.30am, finish at 4.30pm. They're off at weekends".

He ended by saying: "That's why we earn the money we do, yet we're still around 10,000 a year behind other train companies".

A further strike is planned for 21 June.

Also, Tyne & Wear Metro cleaners working for Churchill's have voted 100% in favour of a 48-hour strike beginning on 10 June.

Elaine Brunskill

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