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Operators warn of more ASLEF disruption

A 24-hour walkout by ASLEF drivers at nine train operators is set to disrupt timetables this Saturday.

The operators are warning that the walkout will coincide with another busy weekend for football, with Premier League games in Manchester, London, Birmingham and Brighton likely to be affected.

Special timetables showing the trains that will stilll run are due to be published tomorrow. The trains of other operators not involved in the strike are expected to be busy, and some of the disruption will continue on Sunday morning.

The operators affected are London Overground operator Arriva, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, LNER, Southeastern and West Midlands Trains.

Passengers with advance, off-peak or anytime tickets for 13 August can use their tickets either on the 12th or up to and including Tuesday the 16th. Passengers may also change their tickets to travel on an alternative date, or claim refunds if their trains are cancelled or rescheduled.

Rail Delivery Group chair Steve Montgomery said: ‘The ASLEF leadership has for the second time in as many weeks, decided to impose yet more uncertainty for passengers and businesses by disrupting weekend plans.

‘My open invitation for talks with ASLEF stands. The railway is too important to this country to allow decline, but with passenger numbers still 20 per cent below pre-pandemic levels securing a bright future means we have to adapt to attract more people back.’

ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: ‘‘Strikes are always the last resort. We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – our friends and families use public transport, too – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike but we’ve been forced into this position by the companies, who say they have been driven to this by the Tory government.

‘Many of our members, who were the men and women who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic, have not had a pay rise since 2019.

‘With inflation running at north of 10 per cent that means those drivers have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years. We want an increase in line with the cost of living. We want to be able to buy, in 2022, what we could buy in 2021.’

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