Train strikes: Drivers on Greater Anglia and Croydon trams announce walkouts in summer of misery for travellers

·3-min read
Complaints: customers have apparently sent pictures of flea infested seats to Abellio Greater Anglia (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Complaints: customers have apparently sent pictures of flea infested seats to Abellio Greater Anglia (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Train drivers are to strike over pay and more rail workers are to be balloted for industrial action in growing disputes in the industry which threaten huge travel disruption in the coming weeks.

Aslef announced strikes at three companies in separate rows over pay, while the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) served notice of an industrial action ballot.

Members of Aslef on Hull Trains will strike on June 26, at Greater Anglia on June 23 and on Croydon Tramlink on June 28 and 29 and July 13 and 14.

It comes on top of strikes announced by the RMT Union in late June as well as a tube strike on June 21 - fuelling fears of a “summer of discontent” amid rising inflation and delays at Britain’s airports.

More than 50,000 workers from the RMT at Network rail and 13 train operating companies will stage a walkout on Britain’s railways in the biggest strike on the network since 1989. Further strikes on the railways will take place June 23 and 25.

The TSSA said it will ballot hundreds of workers for industrial action at train operator Avanti West Coast in a dispute over pay, conditions and job security.

TSSA said it is demanding from Avanti a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for 2022, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase which reflects the rising cost of living.

Voting will start on June 15 and close two weeks later, with the union saying strikes could start in mid-July if there is support from members.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: "Avanti West Coast needs to come to the table to face the concerns of their staff and tell their paymasters in government that widespread rail disruption is on the cards.

"Avanti West Coast staff are asking for some basic fair treatment - not to be sacked from their jobs; a fair pay rise in the face of a cost-of-living-crisis; and no race to the bottom on terms and conditions.

"We could be seeing a summer of discontent across our railways. We are preparing for all options, including co-ordinated strike action."

Avanti operates passenger train services from London Euston to Birmingham, Crewe, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow.

Earlier this week, health secretary Sajid Javid told rail bosses and unions to “act like grown ups” and find a settlement.

He told Times Radio: “It would be wrong at every level to have this strike.

“I hope they sit down with the industry, think again, act sensibly, act like grown-ups and understand that not only would a strike be wrong for the travellers, the misery that would cause, but actually I think it would be wrong for the workers in the industry.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the strikes were “incredibly disappointing”.

He said: “The pandemic has changed travel habits with 25 per cent fewer ticket sales and the taxpayer stepping in to keep the railways running at a cost of £16 billion, equivalent to £600 per household.

“We must act now to put the industry on a sustainable footing. We are working with industry to reduce disruption caused by strike action but unions are jumping the gun by announcing this when talks have only just begun.”

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