London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Rail passengers and Eurovision fans face significant disruption in fresh strikes

Rail passengers and Eurovision fans face significant disruption in fresh strikes

Aslef workers will walk out on Friday with more strikes planned 31 May and 3 June. Meanwhile, RMT members will strike on Saturday - causing disruption to those travelling to the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool.

Rail passengers across the country face significant disruption today as workers from the Aslef union walk out in a long-running dispute over pay.

Aslef members in more than a dozen train operators are striking on Friday with more walkouts planned for 31 May and 3 June - the day of the FA Cup final in Wembley.

Meanwhile, members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will strike on Saturday as thousands make their way to the Eurovision Song Contest final in Liverpool.

Passengers travelling today and tomorrow have been urged to check their route before setting off.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said the blame for the long-running walkouts should be placed on the train operators.

"We do not want to go on strike - we do not want to inconvenience passengers, we have families and friends who use the railway too, and we believe in investing in rail for the future of this country," Mr Whelan said.

"But the blame for this action lies, fairly and squarely, at the feet of the employers who have forced our hand over this by their intransigence.

"It is now up to them to come up with a more sensible, and realistic, offer and we ask the government not to hinder this process."

Aslef has previously described the 4% pay offer as "risible and obviously unacceptable".

Mr Whelan said train companies "have their hands tied by the Department for Transport and aren't able to negotiate a reasonable deal".

Southeastern trains in sidings at Ashford International railway station in Kent


However, rail minister Huw Merriman said the average annual salary of a train driver is "just short of £60,000 for a 35 hour base week" and the offer put to Aslef "would take the pay up to £65,000".

"These are train drivers that have received a 39% increase in their wages since 2011. It's a well-paid job. It will continue to be even more well-paid if they were to put that offer to their members," he told Sky News.

He suggested unions are "deliberately" targeting events like Eurovision to maximise disruption.

This is something unions have denied, but Mr Merriman said: "They either don't have a particularly good sporting or events calendar or it has been done deliberately to try and ratchet up the disruption for passengers."

Steve Montgomery, who chairs the Rail Delivery Group, apologised to customers for the strikes, saying it will cause "disappointment and frustration" for those attending Eurovision and FA Cup final.

"While we are doing all we can to keep trains running, unfortunately there will be reduced train services across the network between Friday 12 May and Saturday 3 June, so our advice is to check before you travel."

Labour's shadow health minister Wes Streeting said he was "one of those affected passengers who hoped to get to Eurovision on Saturday but won't be able to now" as he hit out at the government's handling of the strikes.

He said workers are walking out because they "are absolutely desperate about the cost of living" and want their pay to keep up with rising bills.

"The challenge we've got is the government, in terms of its industrial relations, makes the same mistakes over and over again, refusing to sit down and negotiate at all, allowing the disruption to unfold, and then finally concluding that it's time to sit down and talk," Mr Streeting told Sky News.

"The transport secretary hasn't met with the unions since before Christmas. I think that's negligent, actually."

On Friday, Transport Secretary Mark Harper announced train services run by TransPennine Express will be brought under government control after widespread delays and cancellations in the past year.

The operator, which covers an area across northern England and into Scotland, has been badly affected by drivers who are members of the Aslef union no longer volunteering to work paid overtime shifts.

Mr Harper said his department has "played our part but Aslef now need to play theirs" by calling off strikes and the ban on rest day working.

Mr Whelan accused Mr Harper of "trying to blame Aslef - rather than the company's inept management - for its many problems".

Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
Homeless Man Turns in Wallet with 2,000 Euros at Amsterdam Station
Apple Faces EU Charges Over Digital Markets Act Violation
Macron Warns of Civil War Risk as French Elections Approach
Julian Assange Freed After US Plea Deal
Chaotic Portugal Win Over Turkey at Euro 2024
Global Headlines: Hajj Heatwave Tragedy, Flynn's Family Enterprise, and Rising Geopolitical Tensions
Political Shifts in France, Legal Battles in the UK, and Public Protests in Israel
UK's Richest Family Convicted for Exploiting Servants
Hollande Declares End to Macron’s Political Ascendancy
Hindujas Appeal Swiss Court's Human Trafficking Verdict
Prince William Celebrates Birthday at Taylor Swift Concert
Singapore to Implement Screen Time Regulations for Children
Hello and welcome back. Here we are with your latest news update from around the world.
Hello and welcome back. Here are today's top stories from around the world, you don't want to miss:
UK PM Sunak and the Election Betting Scandal
Climate Activists Target Taylor Swift's Private Jet in UK
United States Bans Kaspersky Antivirus
US to Supply Taiwan with Suicide Drones Amid Rising Tensions with China
Bodyguard of UK Prime Minister Arrested for Alleged Election Betting
Global Displacement Crisis: Record Numbers in 2023
Muslim Community Leader Criticizes Nigel Farage for Undermining Muslims
Melinda Gates Discusses 'Horrible' Divorce from Bill Gates
Child Obesity Surge in England: A Deep Concern
U.S. Sues Adobe Over Hard-to-Cancel Subscriptions
Deadly Heat Wave Claims Dozens of Lives During Hajj Pilgrimage in Mecca
Here are today's top worldwide stories you don’t want to miss:.
World’s Largest Pilot Union Calls to Eliminate Terms Like ‘Cockpit’ and ‘Manpower’ for Equity
Woman Suing UK Intel Services Denies China Spy Allegations
Iran Sentences Nobel Laureate Narges Mohammadi to 1-Year Prison Term for Propaganda
News roundup
Good day, everyone! We've got some gripping stories for you today, spanning from the Middle East to Europe, and even a touch of Hollywood.
Britain’s Refugee Visa Rules Stranding Children in War Zones
UK Elections Predict ‘Electoral Extinction’ for PM Sunak’s Conservative Party
Italian Activist Ilaria Salis Returns Home After Election to European Parliament
Good morning!
England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns
Dermatologist Warns Against Sunbed Usage
Fake Pro-Reform UK Social Accounts and Their Influence on Elections
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
Reform UK Surpasses Conservatives in Historic Poll
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
Taylor Swift Fans Create Seismic Activity in Edinburgh
Sunak Aide Under Investigation for Election Bet
Labour Leader Starmer Focuses on Wealth Creation for Upcoming UK Elections
G7 to Use Frozen Russian Assets for $50 Billion Ukraine Aid
Anti-Israel Irish MEP Clare Daly LOST her seat in the EU Election
Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Safety Claims for $700 Million
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
×