No End In Sight For National Express East Anglia Strikes
PUBLISHED: 18:03 07 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:01 04 May 2010
CRIPPLING rail strikes that have caused misery for commuters in Ely over the last two weeks look set to continue for at least another fortnight as unions concede that there is no solution in sight. Speaking to members in the midst of a series of planned
CRIPPLING rail strikes that have caused misery for commuters in Ely over the last two weeks look set to continue for at least another fortnight as unions concede that there is 'no solution in sight.'
Speaking to members in the midst of a series of planned strikes, Keith Norman, the general secretary of train drivers' union ASLEF, said that a 'lack of leadership and dearth of compromise' from National Express East Anglia (NXEA) meant that members would have to 'dig in for the long term.'
The strike action, which has also involved hundreds of workers from the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), began on July 30 with workers left frustrated at what they saw as an inadequate pay rise offer from NXEA.
Managers at the train operator have suggested that the unions are holding out for a 2.5% pay rise, a four-day working week and a four per cent increase in the number of train drivers.
The strike action that has taken place on July30/31 and August 6/7 has caused headaches for hundreds of commuters in Ely trying to get across East Anglia and into the capital with only 100 trains out of the usual 1800 running during the action.
Talks between the parties have been ongoing but have so far proved unsuccessful with last-minute talks aimed at staving off the strikes falling flat.
The RMT's Bob Crow, said "These strikes has been caused by greedy National Express bosses who have soaked up £2.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies in the past 10 years and who have milked every penny out of this franchise while offering their staff peanuts this year."
Andrew Chivers, Managing Director of National Express East Anglia said: "We have asked the unions to suspend the action whilst discussions continue - but this request has been refused. We believe the pay claims continue to be wholly unrealistic and that continuing strike action is inappropriate and unnecessary.