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The UK’s prepare drivers’ union has introduced a brand new set of strikes focusing on the Conservative social gathering’s annual convention in October.
Aslef stated on Friday that drivers at 16 prepare firms would stroll out on Saturday September 30 and Wednesday October 4, which means nearly no trains will run as attendees journey to and from the convention in Manchester, which takes place between Sunday and Wednesday.
Transport secretary Mark Harper criticised Aslef’s determination to strike through the time of the convention for the second consecutive 12 months; stoppages disrupted Tory members’ journey to and from Birmingham in 2022.
“Aslef’s cynical strikes on 30 Sept & 4 Oct are politically motivated,” he wrote on social media.
Mick Whelan, Aslef’s common secretary, stated the union had been “impressed . . . to take motion on lately” by a deterioration in relations with the federal government and criticism for strikes held throughout final 12 months’s convention.
For greater than a 12 months, Aslef has been locked in a dispute with rail firms and the federal government over pay and proposed modifications to working practices. Ministers deal with the railway’s funds, giving them management over the dimensions of potential pay rises, that are negotiated with the union by trade bosses.
In April, the union rejected a suggestion of an 8 per cent pay rise over two years, tied to sweeping modifications to drivers’ working lives, akin to extra versatile shift rostering and time beyond regulation work. The rejected provide would have raised common pay for a driver from £60,000 a 12 months to £65,000, Harper stated.
The federal government and rail firms argue that increased rises are unaffordable and that main reforms are wanted to save cash, given the stress on the railway’s funds following a decline in commuting.
Whelan stated the April pay provide was “risible” and included a “land seize for all our phrases and situations”.
He stated Aslef had had no contact with ministers since January or critical negotiations with prepare operations since April.
“The Division for Transport says we have to discuss to the prepare firms whereas the prepare firms complain they can not sneeze with out the permission of the DfT. We’ll discuss to anybody. However, for the time being, they won’t discuss to us,” he added.
The Rail Supply Group, which speaks for prepare operators, stated: “Additional strike motion by the Aslef management will trigger extra disruption to passengers.
“We need to give our workers a pay enhance, however it has at all times been linked to implementing obligatory, smart reforms that might improve providers for our passengers,” it added.
Alongside the 2 one-day strikes, Aslef introduced a ban on drivers working time beyond regulation on September 29, and between October 2 and October 6.
The RMT, Britain’s largest transport union, stays locked in a separate dispute with the trade and authorities, and has held a collection of strikes since final summer season.
The federal government stated it had “facilitated truthful and affordable gives to each RMT and Aslef”, including: “These strikes won’t stop the necessity for important office reforms.”
It pointed to trade figures displaying that income remained £1bn per quarter under 2019 ranges, when adjusted for inflation.