Holidaymakers travelling out of the UK’s busiest airport are the latest to be hit by this week’s rail strikes, as Thursday’s walk-out by train drivers who are members of the Aslef union involves those who work for the Heathrow Express.
CrossCountry, which operates trains across Great Britain, running as far north as Aberdeen in Scotland and as far south as Penzance in Cornwall, has no services today.
The Heathrow Express, which runs non-stop trains between London Paddington and the airport’s Central station in 15 minutes, is still in operation, but capacity has been halved. Just two trains will run an hour instead of the normal four, and services will only run until 7.15pm this evening.
GWR only has limited routes in operation, and all trains will stop after 7pm.
It’s part of a week of walk-outs by train drivers designed to cause as much disruption as possible.
On Friday, Northern and TransPennine Express have both cancelled all trains.
In addition, the Aslef union has called a ban on all overtime for the week up to and including Saturday, which is also affecting operators even on days when they are unaffected by strikes.
Aslef general secretary, Mick Whelan, said: “We are going on strike again not to inconvenience passengers, but to express our disgust at the intransigence of this government, and the bad faith shown by the private companies which employ us.”
Train drivers are demanding a no-strings pay increase followed by negotiations at a local level to modernise working practices – which will come at an additional price to the employers. Aslef says some drivers have not had a wage rise for five years.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “It is disappointing that Aslef are targeting the public and hospitality businesses at the beginning of the festive period. Instead of going on strike, Aslef should be following in the footsteps of the other rail unions and giving their members a vote on this fair pay deal.”
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: “This wholly unnecessary strike action called by the Aslef leadership will sadly disrupt customers and businesses ahead of the vital festive period.”
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