LETTER: Why train drivers have to strike

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The Independent Online
From Mr Neal Vann

Sir: With regards to your leading article concerning the proposed industrial action by Aslef ("Strike and everyone loses", 5 July), I would like to clarify one or two points for the benefit of your readers.

This action has been taken because drivers' pay is a pitiful pounds 215 for a 39-hour week. Speaking as a married man with three children and a mortgage, I can assure you this is not a living wage. The only way that a majority of drivers manage is by working a considerable amount of overtime and unsociable hours, with a detrimental effect on their social and family life, to say nothing of their health.

Also, you raise the question of privatisation as one of the hidden agendas for the strike. Yes, we are worried about our jobs and the future of the industry, but we are also angry at the vast waste of our money on the sell-off - money that could have been spent on providing living wages and a decent railway system.

Finally, we do not want industrial disruption, but we are determined that we will win a decent pay rise for drivers - particularly in the light of huge rises awarded to members of the British Rail board.

Yours faithfully,

Neal Vann


5 July