Trains misery to continue tomorrow

COMMUTERS face further disruption to journeys tomorrow as rail workers continue to strike over pay and working conditions.

Tom Potter

COMMUTERS face further disruption to journeys tomorrow as rail workers continue to strike over pay and working conditions.

National Express East Anglia will run a limited service of around 100 trains as a result of strike action, instead of the usual 1,800, with managers standing in for protesting workers.

Tens of thousands of rail users suffered travel turmoil today as services on busy rail lines were affected by the strike, which is due to be followed by another three 48-hour walk outs in the coming weeks.

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A limited number of trains ran on routes, including those between London and Stansted airport, Southend, Norwich and Colchester.

National Express apologised to its customers, admitting passengers faced “severe disruption.”

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The train operator called union demands “totally unrealistic,” saying strike action was not a necessary resolution to pay disputes.

Managers say transport union Aslef wants a minimum pay increase of 2.5 percent, a four day working week for all its members and a 4pc increase in the number of train drivers.

“The unions' demands are totally unrealistic, especially in this current economic climate,” said managing director Andrew Chivers, as the company it lost more than �20 million on its soon-to-be nationalised East Coast rail line.

“We have offered salary increases above the rate of inflation, and remain available at any time for discussions to reach a sensible, affordable and fair agreement.

“Strike action is unnecessary, simply not the solution and I would like to apologise to our customers.”

Aslef general secretary Keith Norman said: “National Express is responsible for the total mistrust that exists between the company and their train driver employees.

“The dispute is not just about pay, but also about the poor industrial relations that have existed in this company for a long time - with little genuine effort being made by the management team to resolve issues between us.”

More strikes have been called for August 6 and 7, 13 and 14, and 20 and 21, unless the dispute is resolved.

National Express confirmed it will only run a limited train service on selected routes during further industrial action but that passengers will be entitled to a refund for that day's travel.

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