Birmingham New Street Grand Central Station

Industry leaders call for end of disruptions before Commonwealth Games

It was announced weeks ago that member of the driver’s union ASLEF at eight different train companies, including LNER, Northern, TransPennine Express, Arriva Rail London, Great Western, Southeastern and West Midlands Trains, had backed industrial action. This action is set to take place Saturday 30th July, directly affecting the opening of the Birmingham hosted Commonwealth Games.

This strike action will have disastrous affects on the British people hoping to travel to the midlands city to relish in the powerhouse athletic event, severely reducing the possible attendance and revenue that can be brought to the city and rail sector.

In the hopes of preventing this action, Chair of the Rail Delivery Group, Steve Montgomery, has issued an open invitation to the leadership of the train drivers’ union ASLEF to meet with him. This comes with the hopes to hold meaningful talks that can prevent the planned disruptions.

Steve Montgomery, Chair of the Rail Delivery Group, said:

“I am ready and willing to talk to the leadership of ASLEF today, tomorrow, or indeed anytime next week; they should call off tomorrow’s action and talk to us instead. What our passengers and our staff expect is for us to talk and work out a way through this.

“We know our people are feeling the pinch and we want to give them a pay rise, but that is only affordable through reforms to deliver a better, safer, and more efficient railway for customers and taxpayers by updating outdated and inflexible working practices, which have seen costs spiral.

“ASLEF has instructed its members to strike tomorrow (30 July) affecting millions of people and causing disruption at the Commonwealth Games, at a time of what should be national celebration. Saturday is also the start of the English Football League season, with games affected across the country.

“ASLEF has also announced further action on 13 August, with nine train operators affected, which will come shortly before two further days of action by the RMT and TSSA on the 18 and 20 of August."

The rail sector has faced an uphill battle to return to pre-pandemic profits and services, having recent reports of services achieving 90-93% of those levels in previous weeks. The continued industrial action is only undermining the steady progression of the recovering industry, so the unions and rail operators must find a healthy middle ground to ensure continued stability.

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