New train drivers’ strike causes more travel disruption

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Another strike by train drivers will add to travel chaos for passengers on Saturday amid warnings of further strikes in a long-running pay dispute.

Members of Asle with 11 train operators will walk out, causing massive disruption, with the industry warning of “significantly reduced” services across the country.

Passengers were urged to plan ahead and check before traveling all weekend.

Trains running will start later on Saturday morning and end much earlier than usual, with services typically running between 7:30am and 6:30pm on the day of the strike.

Rugby fans traveling to England v South Africa at Twickenham and to Cardiff for the Wales v Australia international are advised to check with their train company for travel updates as many trains on the network will be affected.

Aslef secretary-general Mick Whelan said progress in talks to resolve the dispute was “incredibly slow”.

He told PA news agency: “We don’t want to be in this position, but nobody listens to us. Our members have not received a pay raise during the pandemic and we are told train companies cannot afford more than 2%.

“Only the government can remove the chains from the employers. We are in this for the long haul – and our members want us to go harder and faster.”

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Mr Whelan will meet Transport Secretary Mark Harper next week to discuss the dispute.

Daniel Mann, director of industrial operations at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “The Aslef strike brings more uncertainty to passengers and businesses by disrupting their weekend plans.

“While we will make every effort to keep disruption to a minimum, if you are going to be traveling on the affected routes, please plan ahead and consult the latest travel advice on questions about the national railways.

“Passengers with pre-sale, off-peak or anytime tickets affected by the strike can use their ticket the day before the date on the ticket, or through Tuesday, November 29. Passengers can also change their tickets to travel on a different date or get a refund if their train is canceled or rescheduled.”

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Companies not expected to run services include Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Chiltern and East Midlands, while others including Great Western and Greater Anglia say services will be extremely limited.

The rail, maritime and transport union has announced a series of strikes at Network Rail and 14 train operators over the coming weeks in their dispute over jobs, wages and working conditions, which will cripple services.

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