Anger over sell-out pay deal at Sheffield Supertram
22 August 2018
Tram drivers and conductors at Manchester Metrolink expressed shock and disbelief at the pay deal the Unite union recommended to workers at Sheffield Supertram earlier this month.
Unite called off eight days of industrial action planned for August and September, after a sell-out deal was negotiated with Supertram management at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on August 2.
After five days of strike action in July, the union abandoned the demand for a 50 pence per hour pay rise for all drivers and conductors. Unite recommended workers accept a paltry 30p per hour extra in the first year, 29p in the second year and a 2.5 percent increase in the final year of a three-year deal. The deal is reportedly not backdated to the previous agreement’s expiry date. This means drivers and conductors have effectively been fined for striking and will fund their own pay rise.
The revised deal was accepted by a 2-1 majority in a secret ballot ending August 10. Many who voted “yes” did so only because they had no confidence the union would fight for anything better, with some drivers and conductors describing the deal as “a load of rubbish” and “crap.”
Drivers and conductors at Manchester Metrolink, who earlier threatened strike action in support of a separate pay claim, told WSWS reporters they were stunned by the low pay at Supertram. One conductor said he was surprised to learn he earned more than a fully qualified driver in Sheffield, while a driver described the Sheffield pay increase as “a raise in name only.”
Supertram conductors are paid £18,000 a year and drivers around £23,000. Under the new agreement, this will reportedly rise by just £1,700 over the three…