Birmingham and Black Country passengers using the West Midland Metro are braced for severe travel disruption this autumn as workers ballot for industrial action due to poverty pay rates.

Ballot on pay

Over 170 workers at West Midland Metro 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.

The West Midland Metro is a light rail network which stretches across Birmingham and into Wolverhampton. Unite, the UK’s leading union, is balloting its members who undertake roles as drivers, customer service representatives, engineers, infrastructure workers and other staff.

Poverty pay

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.”

Improved pay

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 £21,939, which is one of the lowest rates in the UK for this kind of role.

Despite extensive negotiations, the employer has refused to make an offer which meets the workers expectations. It has made an inadequate offer of £25,250 to drivers/customer representatives and just 5.25 per cent to all other grades.

Considerable disruption

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.”


For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.