Metrolink strike called off as Manchester braced for mega gig weekend

Burnham at Parklife

Unions have called off this weekend’s planned strikes on the Metrolink following an eleventh hour intervention by Metro Mayor Andy Burnham and an improved pay offer.

The 600 plus workers, who are members of Unite will now be balloted on the revised offer. If it is rejected then new strike dates will be announced, but none are likely to be as busy as the weekend to come.

Parklife Festival at Heaton Park in north Manchester will attract over 80,000 attendees, then the Soccer Aid charity football match at Old Trafford is expected to be a full house, Roger Waters at the AO Arena, Weeknd at the Etihad stadium make for one of the busiest weekends of the year for visitors to the city region.

On Sunday Sir Mark Elder is returning to the Bridgewater Hall to lead the Halle orchestra.

It’s also anticipated that thousands of fans will flock to the city centre to watch Manchester City in the Champions League final in bars and screens around the city.

The revised pay offer was achieved following talks brokered by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

Unite regional officer Colin Hayden said: “Unite made it clear from the outset that Metrolink was fully able to make an improved offer and as a result of the intervention of the mayor that has now occurred.

“Our members will now be balloted on the offer and they will decide if its meets their expectations.”

Burnham said: “Last week I made an offer to intervene and facilitate a dialogue between Metrolink operator KeolisAmey and representatives of Unite, in an effort to advance talks and avert industrial action this weekend.

“We’ve worked hard with colleagues at Transport for Greater Manchester to bring the two sides together, and I want to thank the teams at KeolisAmey and Unite for engaging positively and constructively in these talks.

“I’m very pleased that an agreement has now been reached to suspend strike action and put a new and improved offer on the table, keeping our tram network running on another really important weekend for the city region.”