Commuter chaos as rail strikes bring trains to a halt - with no service on c2c and disruption on Greater Anglia

5 December 2023, 08:44

Members of Aslef are striking this week.
Members of Aslef are striking this week. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Commuters are facing travel chaos as rail strikes bring trains to a halt - with no service on the c2c and disruption on Greater Anglia.

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Aslef members at c2c and Greater Anglia have walked out, with more strikes on the way in coming days at other train operators.

It comes after the union voted to continue taking industrial action for the next six months in a long-running dispute over pay.

Greater Anglia warned that there would be a reduced service between Norwich and London Liverpool Street, Colchester and London Liverpool Street and Southend Victoria and London Liverpool Street.

Only a limited number of Cambridge to London Liverpool Street services are running.

Meanwhile, a week-long ban on overtime began last Friday, disrupting all services.

Read more: 'They're laughing in our faces': Fury as rail union bosses have Christmas lunch with Labour MPs ahead of week of strikes

Read more: Will your train journey be affected over the Christmas period? December strikes explained

Rob Mullen, c2c managing director, said: "I'm really disappointed that an agreement with Aslef hasn't been reached.

"The impact of this ongoing action is significant for our customers and colleagues.

"I'm hopeful that further meetings with the unions are productive and see progress made towards concluding this challenging time for the railway."

Rail minister Huw Merriman said: "Following RMT members voting to overwhelmingly accept the train operators' pay offer, Aslef is now not just the only rail union still striking but the only union not to even put an offer to its members.

"They are instead choosing to cause more misery for passengers and the hospitality sector this festive period.

"The fair and reasonable offer that's long been on the table would bring the average train driver's salary up to £65,000 for a 35-hour, four-day week.

"Aslef's leadership should follow in the footsteps of all the other rail unions by doing the right thing and giving their members a say on that offer."

Mick Whelan, Aslef's general secretary, said the union was "in this for the long haul", adding: "Our members, who have not had a pay rise for nearly five years now, are determined that the train companies, and the Tory government that stands behind them, do the right thing.

"The cost of living has soared since the spring and summer of 2019, when these pay deals ran out. The bosses at the train companies, as well as Tory MPs and government ministers, have had increases in pay.

"It's unrealistic and unfair to expect our members to work just as hard for what, in real terms, is considerably less."

Commuters shared their frustration online, with one social media user saying the union was "punishing the wrong people".

"So you're striking on the c2c line, so no trains at all, but you don’t allow anyone to use their ticket on the line that is running This is why people don’t support you. You’re punishing the wrong people," they said.

Another person said: "I hate the c2c. How can there be no trains at all on a Tuesday?"

A third person posted: "Get back to work, no one cares about your strikes anymore."