Brits hit with even MORE travel chaos as rail strikes cripple the country & leave passengers stranded | The Sun

BRITS face another day of travel chaos as train drivers stage a strike across the country, leaving passengers stranded.

Many Brits across the country will be left without any services as members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) unions walk out again as part of a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

Rail operators warned of severe disruption, with trains that do run due to start later and finish much earlier than usual – typically between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

The industrial action is also likely to impact services on Saturday morning as well as some lines will be affected by rolling stock not being in the right depots.

The rail industry claims it is working hard to keep as many trains running as possible, and hit out over the rejection of an eight per cent pay rise.

The increase was proposed over two years and would have seen the average salaries go from almost £60,000 a year to nearly £65,000.

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Aslef’s assistant general secretary Simon Weller said the dispute was going “backwards” due to the lack of progress after months of talks.

Weller said: “I don't know whether to point the finger of blame at the ineptitude of the Department for Transport or the Rail Delivery Group.

“We would struggle to recommend a deal of a 4 per cent pay rise for last year and 4 per cent this year if there were no conditions attached, but we are being asked to give up collective bargaining and effectively agree to a no-strike deal.

“Obviously it was going to be rejected – it was designed to fail.”

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He added that the attitude amongst members of the union was “hardening”, but put the blame firmly with train operators and the Department for Transport.

Weller said the latest offer would add a “significant” number of extra contracted hours to a train driver's quota.

Referring to the issue of whether Sunday working should be compulsory, he said: “We have been willing to include Sundays in the working week, but companies find it cheaper to have drivers working overtime on Sundays.”

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “Having made an initial offer which would have taken average driver salaries from £60,000 to nearly £65,000, we had hoped the Aslef leadership would engage constructively to move talks forward, rather than staging more unnecessary strikes. We can only apologise for the disruption.

“To minimise the impact of the Aslef action, we advise passengers to check before they travel, allow extra time and find out when their first and last train will depart.”

Around 1,900 members of Unite working as bus drivers for Abellio in London will complete a three-day strike on Friday in a separate dispute over pay.

It will be the second strike by train drivers this week, after they took part in the huge day of industrial action on Wednesday, which also involved teachers, university staff, civil servants, bus drivers and security guards.

Wednesday’s strike saw around 500,000 workers walk out, bringing the country to a near stand-still.

Earlier in the week, Unison announced further ambulance strikes in England on February 10.

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Nurses will also walk out again on Monday for 48 hours.

Downing Street said the ongoing strike action was “deeply concerning and will worry the public”.

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