More rail strikes - this time for a week

EAST Anglian rail passengers are facing fresh travel chaos for a week as another round of strike action is announced.

Tom Potter

EAST Anglian rail passengers are facing fresh travel chaos for a week as another round of strike action is announced.

Train drivers will walk out for a week from September 21 after turning down a deal aimed at ending a long-running dispute with National Express East Anglia over pay and conditions.

Trade union Aslef yesterday announced its 800 members had voted against an offer and would again stage walk outs in the week running up to Labour's annual conference in Brighton.

Company bosses called the move a “totally unjustified disruption” to customers, who were affected by a series of strikes last month, causing huge disruption to services from London's Liverpool Street to Essex and East Anglia.

Aslef members meanwhile said they were prepared to return to the negotiation table to avoid further action.

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National Express East Anglia issued a statement in response to the announcement that union had rejected the company's revised pay offer.

Andrew Chivers, Managing Director National Express East Anglia, said: “I am extremely disappointed that the train drivers' union has rejected our pay offer, which amounts to a salary increase of at least 4 percent within a year, and announced a resumption of strike action from September 21 on National Express East Anglia services.

“Even though our offer has been accepted by the RMT and TSSA unions by over 80pc votes in their ballots, Aslef is planning to cause further unnecessary and totally unjustified disruption to our customers who have already suffered enough through the earlier series of strikes.

“We will be asking the union for urgent talks to avert any further strike action.”

A spokesman for Aslef last night said the union was willing to meet National Express bosses to discuss a pay deal before resorting to strike action.

“If the company wants to renew discussions before the strike is due to begin, the union is ready and willing to do so,” he said.”

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