Eurostar services 'normal' as drivers strike

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The Independent Travel

Eurostar train drivers went ahead with a pay strike today, but services were affected more by snow than the industrial action, according to the company.

The drivers started a strike today in a row over pay after last-minute hopes of a deal collapsed.

Around 70 members of the drivers' union Aslef launched the 48-hour walk-out, with further stoppages threatened for 26 and 27 December.

A group of Eurostar managers belonging to the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), who were due to join the strike, called off the action yesterday after accepting a new offer on allowances.

A Eurostar spokesman said today that other drivers had been drafted in from France and Belgium and services were running "smoothly", although there were minor delays because of speed restrictions in London and Kent caused by the snow.

A message to customers on the firm's website today said: "Eurostar will operate normally over this weekend and the Christmas period.

"Threatened industrial action by one UK rail union will not affect Eurostar services."

The row centred on a claim by union members that the falling pound meant their expenses were lower than their French counterparts, who are paid in higher-value euros.

As part of the TSSA settlement, it is understood the managers have accepted a one-off payment of more than £600 to compensate for lost earnings caused by the weak pound.