Unions are urged to end train strikes

RAIL operator National Express East Anglia has called on unions to suspend any further train strikes as a sign of “good faith”.

Kate McGrath

RAIL operator National Express East Anglia has called on unions to suspend any further train strikes as a sign of “good faith”.

Another 48-hour strike is planned for Thursday and Friday as railway staff down tools over pay and working conditions.

Commuters have already endured four days of misery in the past two weeks, with trains in the region running a very limited service.

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Today, rail bosses reaffirmed their commitment to finding a resolution.

They said the unions, including ASLEF, RMT and TSSA, wanted a 2.5% pay rise, a four-day working week and a 4% increase in the number of train drivers.

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Andrew Chivers, managing director of National Express East Anglia, said the company remained committed to reaching a fair agreement and has invited ACAS, which helps resolve employment disputes, to attend a meeting today.

He added: “The unions' demands have so far been unrealistic despite an improved offer.

“Therefore, we are calling for the unions to join us at the planned meeting at ACAS today with a clear view of solving this dispute once and for all.

“As part of this we are asking the unions again to suspend the strike action. It is in everybody's interests to give certainty to our customers, the travelling public, that they will have a full train service at the end of the week, and the suspension of the planned strike action would be a sign of good faith from the unions that they are as determined as we are to resolve this issue.”

Booking clerks from the Transport Salaried Staff Association are also expected to join the 48-hour stoppage this week.

Chris Proctor, a spokesperson for ASLEF, said: “Obviously we are looking for a solution and we do not want to disrupt services if it can be helped.

“We are looking forward to the meeting with ACAS.”

On Friday RMT leader Bob Crow was quoted as saying: “Our members have shown again that they are solid, angry and determined to secure a fair deal on pay and conditions from a company that is obsessed with maximising profits at the expense of staff and the travelling public.”

Previous strikes caused disruption last Thursday and Friday and July 30-31.

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