Rail services have been severely disrupted due to the drivers’ strike.

R

All services will be badly affected on Saturday due to a strike by train drivers in the latest outbreak of industrial unrest in the industry.

Members of driver union Aslef at seven train operators will walk out for 24 hours over pay.

The rail delivery group said the industrial action was timed to coincide with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the start of the new season for most English Football League clubs.

Parts of the rail network will be disrupted on Saturday and Sunday morning.

The strike affects Areva Rail London, Greater Anglia, Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, South Eastern and West Midlands trains.

Passengers at Birmingham New Street Station (Jacob King/PA) / PA Wire

Steve Montgomery, chairman of Rail Delivery Group, said: “We are really disappointed that Aslef’s leadership has decided to impose further uncertainty and disruption for passengers and businesses in a week that has already seen RMT strike action. are

“Millions of commuters will have their weekend plans disrupted, particularly those working, or heading to the Commonwealth Games or the first football match of the season.

“While we will do everything we can to minimize disruption, if you are going to be traveling on the affected routes, please plan ahead and check the latest travel advice.

“If you are not able to travel, you can use your ticket either a day before or till August 2, otherwise you will be able to change your ticket or claim a refund.

“Like any service or business, we must move with the times and cannot continue to ask taxpayers or passengers for more money when we must respond to the major changes in travel behavior post-CoVID.

“By making the necessary reforms such as ending the reliance on volunteering at the weekend, we improve punctuality, have more flexible Sunday services and pass these savings on to our people in pay rises. Use for what we always want to do.

“Further strikes will leave our people out of pocket and mean less money for salary increases, so we appeal to the Aslef leadership to resume negotiations so that we can reach an agreement that will save staff and taxes. Fair to payers, and one that secures a bright, long-term future for our railways.

Aslef Pickets (Victoria Jones/PA) / PA Wire

More strikes are planned next month by Aslef and the RMT in a deadlocked row over pay, jobs and conditions.

“Strikes are always a last resort,” said Mick Wheelan, Aslef’s general secretary.

“We don’t want to inconvenience passengers, our friends and family also use public transport, and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike but we have been forced into this position by companies who say they have He was drawn to it by the Tory government.

“Many of our members, the men and women who moved critical workers and supplies across the country during the pandemic, have not received a pay raise since 2019.

“Inflation running north of 10% means these drivers have had a real-terms pay cut over the past three years.

“We want cost-of-living increases, we want to be able to buy in 2022, what we can buy in 2021.

“It’s not unreasonable to ask your employer to make sure you’re not worse off for three years in a row.

An empty platform at Edinburgh’s Waverley station (Jane Barlow/PA) / PA Wire

“Especially as the train companies are doing very well, thanks, outside of UK railways, with handsome profits, profits for shareholders, and big pay for managers, and train drivers not working much for less. want

Wage growth is not fueling inflation.

“There is high profitability, but the government is not asking companies to cut profits or dividend payments to help manage inflation.

“Wages are chasing prices, not driving them.

“We don’t see why we should give up salary increases to keep pace with inflation and help privatized train companies make even more profits to send overseas.”

Mr Montgomery issued an open invitation to SLIF leaders to meet him for “meaningful discussions” to resolve the dispute.

He said: “I am ready and willing to speak to the leadership of Aslif any time today, tomorrow or indeed next week.

“They should call off tomorrow’s proceedings and talk to us instead.

“Our passengers and our crew expect us to talk and find a way through this.”

Anthony Smith, chief executive of watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Passengers will be disappointed that, once again, their plans are being disrupted.

“It is vital that we continue to find a negotiated solution that will prevent passengers from being dragged further into this industrial dispute.

“Information will be key throughout the disruption. Train companies should look at specific areas for improvement, as we identified from the June strikes around refunds, compensation and clear information. Will re-monitor the impact.