More rail strikes set to hit Shropshire travellers

Shropshire rail lines are set for more major disruption, with unions planning three strike days over the coming weeks.

More strike action set to hit county railways
More strike action set to hit county railways

Saturday, August 13, is set to see passengers on the Shrewsbury to Birmingham line warned to travel "only if essential", while August 18 and 20 are likely to see no services at all.

The August 13 action will take place on the second day of Shrewsbury Flower Show, causing disruption for many visitors who would be attending by rail as the event returns for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

The rail strikes held over the past month have already hit other events, such as Shrewsbury Food Festival, and the build up to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Action by Aslef on August 13 means there will be no West Midlands Trains services running from Birmingham and Wolverhampton through Telford, to Shrewsbury and on to Welshpool, Newtown and Aberystwyth.

There will be services running on the route from Transport for Wales but the company has told people only to travel if essential, due to the significant reduction in the amount of trains running.

The RMT strikes, which take place on August 18 and 20, will be a repeat of those last month, where no services at all will run on Shropshire's rail lines.

Shrewsbury & Atcham's Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski, has voiced frustration at the impact of the planned action.

He said: "I deeply regret this action by militant trade unions who are again bringing significant disruption to millions across our country.

"At this exceptionally difficult economic time for our nation trade union bosses are adding to the economic pain being faced by companies and families."

Steve Montgomery, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group, said: "We're really disappointed that the Aslef leadership has, for the second time in as many weeks, decided to impose yet more uncertainty for passengers and businesses by disrupting passengers' weekend plans."

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said: "Strikes are always the last resort. We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – our friends and families use public transport, too – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike but we’ve been forced into this position by the companies, who say they have been driven to this by the Tory government.

"Many of our members – who were the men and women who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic – have not had a pay rise since 2019.

"With inflation running at north of 10 per cent that means those drivers have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years. We want an increase in line with the cost of living – we want to be able to buy, in 2022, what we could buy in 2021."

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