Home / Royal Mail / Rail strikes to see commuters and local businesses ‘severely penalised’ ahead of Christmas | UK | News

Rail strikes to see commuters and local businesses ‘severely penalised’ ahead of Christmas | UK | News

Rail travel is likely to be disrupted and people travelling within the UK this weekend are being advised to check before they travel if trains will be running. Aslef union say they want driver wages to keep pace with the rising cost of living crisis, but travel companies have not made an alternative pay offer.

GB News presenter and former historian Neil Oliver spoke with a Maidstone commuter who expressed her frustration about the travel disruptions.

Mr Oliver asked: “Tell me how hard are commuters being hit in your area?”

Commuter Katie Boots replied:”Very hard. We don’t have a very good rail company as it is, as they’re always cancelling trains for various reasons.

“The train strikes are coming at a time when our local train company are putting on new services to London Bridge that week and none of us will be able to get into London because of the strikes.”

Mr Oliver then asked: “What is the impact on other businesses in the run-up to Christmas? Hospitality, retail, entertainment, and so on? What are you hearing, what are you seeing?”

Katie said: “The week of the train strikes is when my company’s Christmas party is being held on the 16th, and none of us will probably be able to go because we won’t be able to get home.

“So, all of these venues have been booked and need the money since the lockdown as well, and companies may have to cancel.”

The commuter added: “All the businesses in the city or work in the city of London, all of them are just about getting back on their feet after lockdown will be severely penalised with this strike because their communities won’t be there to buy the coffee, the wine, the beer, etc.”

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However, Aslef Union’s General Secretary Mick Whelan has said he regrets that passengers will be inconvenienced and that workers don’t want to be taking this action.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train companies, has said they are “incredibly frustrated” by the strike action.

They said: “We regret Aslef’s decision, which will cause real disruption to passengers and hit its members’ pay packets,” a spokesman said

However, the Aslef Union has now suspended strike action on the London Overground after a new pay offer, and Mr Whelan said the offer meant they had now “negotiated or been offered a pay deal by every operating company except those under contract with the Department for Transport”.

RMT Union leader Mick Lynch also said: “If we call off the strikes, we’ll never get a settlement … My members won’t forgive me. I’ve given a commitment – until we get a tangible outcome, the action will be on.”

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