Connex Train Drivers
Stage One-Day Strike
The first of the 24-hour strikes of the train
drivers on Londons busiest commuter rail routes is due to take place
today, Tuesday, beginning at midnight. More than 200,000 passengers use what
are the busiest rail routes in Britain. It will be the biggest industrial
action on the rail lines since the signal workers dispute six years
The train drivers have said that the rail company, Connex,
has threatened them with dismissal if they take part in the action, which has
been organised within the confines of the already restrictive trade union laws.
They complain of broken promises of a 35-hour week and 100% pensionable pay.
The general secretary of the train drivers union
ASLEF, Mick Rix, asked whether "it is right that a company which receives
huge sums of taxpayers money should then be able to spend that money on
putting advertisements in the press and leaflets on misinformation? Instead of
Connex conducting its Victorian employment attitudes in the media, it would be
better employed using the taxpayers money to provide a better public
Connex has published a list of services it
"guarantees" to run today, which represents one in 10 trains out of a
scheduled timetable of 3,500. But more cancellations and delays are likely on
Wednesday morning due to stock being out of place and with some drivers,
because of different shifts, still being on strike.
If the dispute is not settled, five further 24-hour strikes
of the 1,500 drivers will take place on February 2, 10, 18, 21 and 29. Overtime
is also being banned.
Ballot papers were yesterday also sent to RMT drivers
calling on them to support strike action over claims for the 35-hour week. The
result is due next Monday, and could see the first combined strike by ASLEF and
RMT workers in two weeks time. It should also be remembered that Connex
is one of the privatised rail companies which have come under serious criticism
of late for the standard of the services it provides to the public.