Hucknall and Bulwell tram workers could strike during Goose Fair week

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Hucknall and Bulwell folk wanting to use the tram to get to this year’s Nottingham Goose Fair, may have to make alternative plans due to potential strike action.

The GMB Union has announced workers on Nottingham’s tram network have began balloting for strike action.

And that strike could take place the same week as Nottingham Goose Fair – one of the busiest weeks of the year on the tram network – which runs from September 29 to October 8.

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The vote comes after Nottingham’s tram operator, Keolis – which operates the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) network – offered, what the union called ‘a real terms pay cut to staff’.

Could this year's Goose Fair be hit by a tram strike?Could this year's Goose Fair be hit by a tram strike?
Could this year's Goose Fair be hit by a tram strike?

Around 300 drivers, mechanics, control room and ticket office staff will join the ballot with a result expected later this month.

Colin Whyatt, GMB organiser, said: “Striking is always a last resort, but our members have been backed into a corner by low pay.

“Tram workers are facing the harshest cost of living crisis in a generation, with many of them unable to afford to live and shop in the city they work in.

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“Tram bosses have been keen to plead poverty in recent weeks, but hard working and loyal staff cannot be expected to foot the bill.

“Transport chaos in one of Nottingham’s busiest weeks is something tram bosses must act to avoid.

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“Our union is always open to negotiating a solution and our door is always open.

“We’d urge tram top brass to urgently step back from the brink and bring an offer to the table that reflects the contribution our members make to Nottingham.”

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Chris Wright, managing director of Nottingham Trams Limited, commented: “We are disappointed at the course of action taken by the GMB, as our pay offer for 2023-24 has been broadly welcomed by many colleagues across the organisation.

“The proposed settlement includes a pay increase of nine per cent for our lowest-paid employees and 6.75 per cent for all other members of our team, representing an overall increase in salaries of 20 per cent since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This sensible offer takes into account the current economic climate as the network continues its post-pandemic recovery, while recognising the hard work and commitment of colleagues.

"It comes with no preconditions or changes to working practices and would also be backdated to June of this year.

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“We genuinely hope that GMB members will reject the union’s call for any action that would cause unnecessary disruption for customers, and accept a realistic offer that is very much in line with pay increases in other key public services.”

Your Dispatch has contacted Nottingham City Council for comment.