Train services return after Sunday stay-away

Rail services returned to normal today on London Midland lines following the cancellation of all but one of the firm's trains yesterday because of staff shortages.

Thousands of rail passengers suffered delays and disruptions to their journeys after the company cancelled all its trains except those on the Birmingham to Liverpool line.

London Midland, which operates more than 1,200 services a day to 149 stations, was criticised after revealing its drivers usually worked on a voluntary basis on Sundays and not enough staff volunteered to work yesterday.

Talks will be held this week between the company and union leaders in a bid to avert a repeat of the chaos.

The company said an agreement to increase overtime pay on Sundays from time and two thirds to double pay ended on August 30.

National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) leader Bob Crow said it was simply a case of staff exercising their contractual right not to work on Sunday.

"This is a voluntary arrangement. Rather than pleading ignorance and blaming their staff, the company should focus their energy on resolving the issue," he told the Press Association today.

A London Midland spokeswoman said: "We have scheduled meetings with the unions this week and we will be contacting them today to discuss the fact that in their comments to the media they raised the issue of overtime payments as a reason for staff not volunteering.

"They have not previously advised the company they wanted to discuss the continuation of the short term, double-time agreements."

The Birmingham-based company runs train services throughout the heart of England, serving major cities including London, Birmingham and Liverpool, and linking scores of towns across the midlands.

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard has asked Transport Secretary Lord Adonis to investigate the disruptions.

Speaking for the Northampton Rail Users' Group, one of the largest towns served by the network, Shaun Hope said: "It's a shambles. How can they run an essential service on a voluntary basis? It's an astonishing way to operate a train service."

London Midland made arrangements for other companies to honour their tickets and also put on some bus services yesterday.

Operations and Safety director Andy Thomas apologised for the disruption.

He said: "Where we have had staff coming to work we have run services and also ensured we prepare the trains and operations behind the scenes to start Monday morning services overnight."

He added the double pay deal for Sunday working was on top of existing overtime and was "time limited".

He said: "These extra payments were always temporary and it was clear they came to an end on August 30. This week London Midland drivers and conductors would have earned the usual, agreed level of overtime for working a Sunday shift."

Shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers said: "London Midland needs to get their act together. They really should have contingency plans for a situation when their regular drivers don't put their names down for Sunday shifts."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
News
Floyd
newsFloyd 'Creeky' Creekmore still performed regularly to raise money for local hospitals
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Real Estate Solicitor 2+PQE - City

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGH VALUE REAL ESTATE / RESID...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?