Passengers pass through Paddington station where services remain suspended following the nationwide strike.
The tariff dispute between the engine driver company and the private railway providers continues to drag on. More walkouts are planned through August, with no end in sight.
EThe train drivers’ strike has once again brought rail traffic to a standstill in large parts of Great Britain. Thousands of members of the train drivers’ union Aslef called for higher wages and more security for their jobs. The strike at seven private rail companies on Saturday hit visitors to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as well as scores of football fans en route to their teams’ first game of the season. Only on Wednesday did tens of thousands of members of the railway union RMT stop working. Both unions have again announced several strikes for August.
The conservative government was outraged by the industrial action. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps accused the unions of refusing necessary reforms and delaying collective bargaining at the expense of taxpayers. “Enough!” Shapps wrote in the Times newspaper (Saturday). Aslef Secretary General Mick Whelan then accused the minister of lying and called on him to mediate in the negotiations. RMT boss Mick Lynch had previously threatened a general strike if the government implemented its announced plans and curtailed the unions’ right to strike.
The head of the rail association Rail Delivery Group, Steve Montgomery, was disappointed with the strikes and defended the planned savings and cuts. “Like any service provider and business, we must adapt and cannot keep asking taxpayers and passengers for more and more money when instead we should be responding to the tremendous changes in travel behavior post-pandemic,” Montgomery said.