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Rail strikes look set to continue

PUBLISHED: 10:25 13 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 03 July 2010

TRAIN strikes which have proved a misery for commuters in the county are set to continue for a third week from today.

Over the past fortnight, the National Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union and Aslef have held two-day strikes in a row over pay and working conditions with railway operator National Express East Anglia (NXEA).

TRAIN strikes which have proved a misery for commuters in the county are set to continue for a third week from today.

Over the past fortnight, the National Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union and Aslef have held two-day strikes in a row over pay and working conditions with railway operator National Express East Anglia (NXEA).

Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) are also set to join Aslef and the RMT in the latest strikes scheduled to take place today and tomorrow.

The unions have been meeting with mediation agency, ACAS since Monday to try to resolve the issues and avoid further strike action, but by late last night no compromise had been reached.

A spokesman from NXEA they were still in talks late last night with the unions and could not comment further than that, but on both the Aslef and TSSA websites announcements were posted which confirmed strike action would continue.

There have also been suggestions that if no compromise is found, the strikes could continue into September and be as long as six days.

The release on the Aslef website states: “Rail unions who have spent three days this week in ACAS-facilitated talks with National Express East Anglia (NXEA) will continue with industrial action this week and are set to call further strike dates as negotiations have become increasingly fractious and unproductive. The three meetings this week resulted in no notable progress.

“The unions attribute the dispute to management failing to address failing industrial relations, inequality of conditions between staff, inconsistent discipline awards and an unrealistic pay offer of a single percent with 'unacceptable conditions'.”

Andrew Chivers MD of National Express confirmed that talks have broken down. He said: “We have improved our offer further putting more cash on the table but after reaching what we believe to be a deal Aslef pulled out.

“We would like to apologise to all passengers affected by the strike. We will again run a limited service on some routes where we can and will remain committed to a fair and sensible resolution.”

He said they were hoping to have further meetings with unions on Thursday morning.

The strike action continuing means most NXEA services will not be running.

There will be a peak time service between Norwich and London Liverpool Street and an hourly service between Colchester and London Liverpool Street.

They also plan to run a small number of off-peak services between Norwich and Colchester, with connections to/from London, a limited bus service between Colchester and Clacton and a morning and evening peak train (in each direction) between Cambridge and Liverpool Street.

Full details of the alternative timetable are provided on the NXEA website, nationalexpresseastanglia.com

Other alternative travel options for those travelling from Norfolk include a combination of East Midlands Trains and First Capital Connect services from Norwich to Ely then on to London King's Cross.

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