Drivers from 12 train operators are expected to stage two 24-hour walkouts in the first week of October as part of the ongoing dispute over pay.
A strike planned for 15 September was postponed after the announcement of the death of the Queen. While Aslef, the train drivers’ union, is not making any statement until after the Queen’s funeral today, rail operators have been notified of the impending action. Unions currently have to give two weeks’ notice before any planned strikes.
Mick Whelan, the general secretary of Aslef, said at the announcement of the 15 September walkout: “The train companies have forced our hand.” With inflation rising rapidly, Whelan said: “They want train drivers to take a real terms pay cut – to work just as hard this year as last, but for 10% less.”
But a rail industry source told the BBC that the upcoming strikes – scheduled for 1 and 5 October – are “incredible” and “utterly disrespectful”. “This is a time when the entire rail family is working hard to support the hundreds of thousands of people who wish to pay their respects to Her Majesty the Queen during this time of national mourning,” they said.
“Millions of rail passengers face having their travel plans wrecked,” said The Independent. In particular, the two planned strikes will “bring rail chaos at the beginning and end of the Conservative party conference”, said The Guardian. Several of the rail companies involved directly serve Birmingham, which is hosting the conference between 2 and 5 October.
It will be the first conference since Liz Truss became prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party. Throughout the leadership race Truss promised a crackdown on the ongoing industrial action, proposing new restrictions on trade unions, which the Trades Union Congress criticised as an “attack on fundamental British liberty”.
Another event that will likely be affected is the London Marathon, which takes place on 2 October. Managing director of the rail operator LNER, David Horne, said they have already suspended ticket sales and will confirm as soon as possible which services will be running.
Source:: The Week – All news