Rail passengers are being warned of a major disruption to services over the bank holiday weekend due to a strike by train company drivers. While postal workers have launched a new strike in a wage dispute.
Members of the TransPennine Express Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union quit on Saturday and will strike again on Sunday in a long-running pay dispute. Members of the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) at the Crown Post Offices – the largest branches often located on high streets – quit on Saturday, union members from the administration networks and the chain of supply will strike on Monday.
TransPennine Express (TPE) has urged people not to travel, saying it will operate a modified timetable on both days, with very limited service available for those on essential journeys. People traveling to events, including Jubilee celebrations over the weekend, have been urged to seek alternative transport.
Kathryn O’Brien, Director of Customer Experience for TransPennine Express, said: “We are saddened that the ongoing RMT strikes mean that we will not be able to provide full service to customers for a weekend. end as special, when celebrations take place across the UK. With a strike scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, coupled with major engineering works, our advice to customers is not to travel by train, and anyone traveling to an event should seek alternative transport.
“Major engineering work at Network Rail will also mean changes for customers traveling on our northern route, and we urge them to plan ahead and check their journeys.”
The union said the company refused the drivers’ request to raise the pay of incoming staff on holidays and Sundays, and offered drivers more money. General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “The divide and conquer tactic of small business bosses is shameful and they need to understand that our members will not back down until they find a just settlement.
“Drivers, like drivers, should be well rewarded for their work on TPEs and if management behaves sensibly we can suspend action this weekend. What our members are asking for would cost TPE less than the loss income resulting from a strike.
“We urge TPE bosses to think again and engage meaningfully with RMT.”
This is the second episode of industrial action since the dispute broke out and the union does not rule out further strikes. The CWU said all 114 Crown post offices will close on Saturday, warning the supply chain strike will mean there will be no money collection or delivery to post offices on Monday. The union said the post office insists on a wage freeze for 2021-22 and a “slightly improved” wage offer for 2022.
CWU Deputy Secretary Andy Furey said, “Our members don’t want to be in this situation, but they won’t accept the humiliation either. Our members have worked hard to generate an excellent annual profit for the company – affordability is not management’s concern here.
“Frankly, their degrading excuse for an offer has only hardened the members, who will not tolerate a collapse in their standard of living. We thank the public for their understanding and support, and urge the Post Office to come to the table and craft real rules that treat key worker heroes with the respect they deserve.
About 3,500 union members are involved in the dispute.
A Post Office spokesperson said: “We want to assure our customers that the vast majority of our branches are unaffected by the CWU strike on Saturday. There are 114 branches, generally in city centers, which are directly managed by the Post Office.
“More than two-thirds would normally only be open between 9am and 12.30pm on Saturdays. We apologize to any customers who would be inconvenienced by a closure. »
The union said the wage offer was a wage freeze from April 2021 and a 2.5 per cent increase and £500 lump sum from April this year.