Metrolink tram strike is cancelled less than 30 hours before Sunday’s Manchester marathon

  • 30,000 marathon competitors could have been delayed at the start line

  • Many Manchester roads will still be closed for around 12 hours

  • A further three Metrolink strikes are planned this month

Runners and spectators of the fourth largest marathon in Europe are breathing a sigh of relief after Metrolink tram drivers called off planned strike action this weekend.

Around 300 Unite union tram drivers were due to go on strike over pay, potentially leaving services cut by 80% and with only two of the six lines operating.  

Unite say the strike action was in response to “the poor pay offer put to the workforce”. 

However, Sunday’s strike has been cancelled after a revised pay offer was put forward, transport bosses say.

Talks held between Metrolink contractor, KeolisAmey, and Unite broke down on Thursday. The contractors offer of a minimum five per cent, two-year pay increase was rejected by union-member drivers.  

This weekend’s marathon takes place through large areas of central Manchester which will disrupt certain areas. Many roads will be closed for parts of the afternoon on Sunday 10, with some shut between 3am and 7pm.  

This year’s marathon route will start near Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium. Runners will pass landmarks including the Manchester Opera House and Albert Memorial Hall, before reaching the finish line on Talbot Road.  

Around 30,000 competitors, taking on the 26.2 mile challenge, have been advised by marathon organisers to use public transport.  

The events guide says Piccadilly and Victoria train stations “have Metrolink connections so you can quickly hop on a tram to continue your journey”.  

Transport for Greater Manchester head of Metrolink, Danny Vaughan, had said: “We’re working closely with organisers and operators to help keep people moving, but whether going to an event or not, the main thing people can do to ensure their journey is as smooth as possible, is to check in advance.”  

This information has been revised today as Guillaume Chanussot, managing director at KAM, said: “The strike action planned for Sunday 10 October has been cancelled and Metrolink customers can once again travel with confidence.

“We will operate a regular Sunday service on this date, with some additional services to support the Manchester Marathon.”

Further weekday tram strikes are planned for Friday 15 and Monday 18 October which may affect commuters. Football fans could also have issues with strikes planned for Sunday, 24 October, the day of the Man U Vs Liverpool match.  

Speaking to NQ Barckley Sumner, Unite Unions senior communications officer has said: “If a company comes with an improved offer there is a chance the strikes may be suspended, but until something moves those strikes are on.”  

If you are planning to attend the marathon or visit Manchester city centre this weekend the advice is to plan your journey ahead of time and check routes online.