More rail misery as strikes start again

COMMUTERS faced more rail misery today, as a passenger champion warned the chaos could worsen over summer.

COMMUTERS faced more rail misery today, as a passenger champion warned the chaos could worsen over summer.

Yesterday crunch talks between unions and National Express East Anglia broke down, shattering any chance of averting strike action today and tomorrow on the Ipswich to London train route.

The failure to agree a compromise deal means passengers face a repeat of last week's travel nightmare.

Iain Sanderson, a commuter from Kettleburgh near Framlingham said the disruption to normal patterns and the uncertainty were the real problem.

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He said: “It is unfair when so many of us in private enterprise strive and have to provide 100 per cent service to maintain our jobs and companies that some entities, who purport to be privatised, behave like a nationalised monopoly. It is irritating because they have free rein to do this.”

And fellow commuter Paul Boon, of Derby Road said he is forced to fork out for a taxi to Ipswich Station.

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“It is affecting me badly, my bosses are not very happy at all, they want me in at 8.30am and I won't be there until 9.30am. For commuters it really is a pain.”

Yesterday Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said it expected its members at National Express East Anglia to "solidly support" the walk-out, which also involves Aslef members, lasting until midnight on Saturday.

The unions have also planned industrial action on August 13 and 14, and August 21 and 22, and will be joined by the Transport Salaried Staff Association on those dates unless an agreement is reached.

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said: "Despite making half a billion in profits out of their workforce and the travelling public over the past ten years, National Express have resorted to pleading poverty.

“RMT wants this company off the tracks as soon as possible with all of their franchises returned to public ownership.”

Andrew Chivers, managing director of National Express East Anglia, said: “We believe the pay claims continue to be wholly unrealistic and that continuing strike action is inappropriate and unnecessary.”

Have the train strikes affected you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

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