Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Strikes hitting rail passengers

Strikes on the railways are spreading as members of the RMT union staged two walkouts from midnight.

Drivers for Arriva Trains Wales are holding a 24-hour stoppage over pay and conditions, while union members at Northern Rail are striking for 48 hours over Christmas and New Year pay.

The action follows the latest Tube strike in the capital, which caused disruption on every line.

Boxing Day sales shoppers struggled to get around as the one-day stoppage went ahead after London Underground (LU) lost a legal challenge. Members of the drivers' union Aslef walked out over a claim for triple pay and a day off in lieu.

London district organiser Steve Grant said: "It's been 100% solid from our members and it seems other unions' members have supported our action without any picket lines at all.

"The company was forcing people who had booked today off to work and only paying them flat time. The strike didn't have to happen if LU or the Mayor's office had negotiated. We have been trying to negotiate this for two years."

But LU hit out at the timing of the strike, with managing director Mike Brown saying: "The union leadership has shown complete disdain for all who want to visit family and friends or hunt a good bargain during what is one of the busiest shopping days of the year."

And London Mayor Boris Johnson accused the union of "trying it on". He said: "The demands being made by the leadership of Aslef are monstrous.

It has been clear ever since the Gregorian calendar was reformed in the mid-18th Century that Boxing Day 2010 would fall on a Sunday. So why do they demand more money with three weeks to go? They are breaking the deal and trying it on."

The Tube was operating on all lines that were scheduled to run, but with a significantly reduced service. Passengers were advised to make use of buses and river services.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph