Train passengers across the UK will face significant disruptions as members of the Aslef union hold more strikes in a long-standing dispute over pay.
Workers from Aslef in over a dozen train operators will go on strike today Friday, May 12, with additional walkouts scheduled for May 31 and June 3.
Meanwhile, members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will also go on strike on Saturday, May 13, coinciding with the Eurovision Song Contest final in Liverpool.
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Passengers travelling today and tomorrow have been advised to check their routes before setting off.
Aslef General Secretary Mick Whelan has stated that the blame for the strike should be placed on the train operators.
He emphasised Aslef does not want to inconvenience passengers but has been left with no choice but to take this action due to the intransigence of the employers.
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Aslef had been negotiating with train operating companies for many months on pay and had managed to come to an agreement on several companies.
However, a number of companies have their hands tied by the Department for Transport, and they are not able to negotiate a reasonable deal with Aslef members.
Mr. Whelan told SkyNews: “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,”
“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.
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“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 said the four percent pay offer was “risible and obviously unacceptable”.
The union is still prepared to negotiate in good faith but has had to consider industrial action as an impasse has been reached.
Mr. Whelan added: “We are still prepared to negotiate in good faith but, unfortunately, as we have been unable to come to an agreement, we have had to consider industrial action.”
The rail strikes have caused frustration for commuters and businesses alike for months and months, with many people calling for a resolution to the dispute.
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The strike action has come at a particularly bad time for the Eurovision Song Contest, which is expected to draw thousands of visitors to Liverpool.
The RMT has gone on strike over pay, job security and working conditions, while Aslef has cited concerns over the level of pay increases.
Mr. Whelan said: “We have been negotiating with employers – the train operating companies – for many months on pay. On several companies we have managed to come to an agreement, and on several others, multi-year deals have been honoured,”
“Unfortunately a number of companies still have their hands tied by the Department for Transport and aren’t able to negotiate a reasonable deal with Aslef members.
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