Taxi drivers have been helping people carry on their festive preparations after the latest industrial action on the railways.
Members of the Aslef union went on strike earlier this month as part of a long-running dispute over pay and conditions. During the disruption, train drivers walked out on four separate days in different parts of the network and refused to work overtime throughout.
Although there are no more strikes planned during the rest of the festive period, it is worth checking the National Rail website for any disruption or altered services over Christmas.
Unlike last year’s widespread action, RMT members did not take part in the latest strikes after recently accepting a new pay offer. This means that while the current industrial action was on a smaller scale, it still caused disruption to large areas as people tried to do their Christmas shopping and prepare for Christmas Day.
Passengers were warned to check their journeys for any disruption and plan alternative routes, including taking taxis.
Although it did not include RMT members, the series of rolling strikes affected the C2C, Greater Anglia and Gatwick Express service, East Midlands, LNER, Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern, Thameslink, Stansted Express and West Midlands.
The industrial action also affected Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express and South Western, CrossCountry, GWR, Northern and TransPennine Express.
The Guardian, reported that Aslef had previously called members to strike on the same day, but by spreading the action the ramifications would be “greater”.
It said the union rejected a two-year offer of 4% in 2022 and another 4% this year, saying it is way below inflation, and is linked to changes in terms and conditions.
While no more action has been announced over the Christmas period, a resolution seems a long way off.
Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan told Sky News that he has not had any talks with employers since April and has not met Transport Secretary Mark Harper since last December.
He said: “Our members, who have not had a pay rise for nearly five years now, are determined that the train companies and the Tory government that stands behind them do the right thing.
“The cost of living has soared since the spring and summer of 2019, when these pay deals ran out.
“The bosses at the train companies – as well as Tory MPs and government ministers – have had increases in pay. It’s unrealistic and unfair to expect our members to work just as hard for what, in real terms, is considerably less.
“These are key workers who kept the country moving throughout the pandemic. They are simply asking for a fair and decent deal.”
Anyone planning to travel during the festive period, especially by train, should check timetables for any disruption and have a back-up plan, either by booking a taxi or taking a coach and grabbing a cab at either end.
And any disruption on the rails means taxis will be busier than normal so booking in advance is strongly recommended.
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