Metro passengers have been warned to brace for disruption after train engineers voted to go on strike.

More than 50 staff employed by Stadler Rail at the Metro’s depot are set to walk out over what the Unite union claimed was a “miserable” pay offer.

The staff are due to commence a ban on overtime working on Friday and have voted to strike, though dates for that have yet to be announced, after rejecting a 4% pay rise offer.

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Metro operator Nexus confirmed that any strike action would not cause the Metro system to be shut down. However, a spokesperson indicated that the overtime ban and a strike would increase the risk of disruption to train services as it would prevent maintenance work taking place on the Metro’s ageing and increasingly unreliable fleet.

Unite regional coordinating officer Suzanne Reid said: “Our members are working harder and harder but their wages are worth less and less. The sheer number of extra hours worked to keep on top of the Metro maintenance means the overtime ban will cause disruption. 

“But this is entirely the fault of Stadler, which can well afford to put forward a reasonable pay rise but is refusing to do so. The company must table an offer our members can accept.”

Stadler is currently building the Metro’s new £362m fleet of trains at its factory in Switzerland and has also been tasked with building a £70m new depot in Gosforth.

Unite said the manufacturing giant had also offered staff a one-off £1,000 payment but that workers wanted a bigger uplift in their basic pay, with Stadler having reported profits of £119 million in 2021 and record order figures.

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The union’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, added: “Stadler wants its Tyne and Wear engineers to take a pay cut as prices rocket, while it continues to rake in huge profits. This is not acceptable to Unite. 

“Stadler brings in enormous profits every year, so there is no reason why it should not give its Metro workers a fair piece of the pie. Our members have Unite’s full backing in their fight for a fair pay rise.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has contacted Stadler for a comment.

A Nexus spokesperson said: “We urge both sides to find a resolution to this dispute as soon as they can.  We have been assured by Stadler that any industrial action will not impact on the services that we provide for our customers.”

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