Plea for talks to avert West Yorkshire train driver strike UPDATED

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Rail bosses have said they are ready to sit down for fresh talks with union leaders in an attempt to avert next week’s Yorkshire train strike.

As reported in yesterday’s Yorkshire Evening Post, drivers at First TransPennine Express are set to walk out next Wednesday and Friday in a dispute over pay.

TransPennine Express says it will aim to run as many services as possible if the strike by members of the ASLEF and RMT trade unions goes ahead – but is warning travellers that some disruption would be “inevitable”.

However, the operator is also holding out the possibility of brokering a peace deal in time to put a stop to the action.

TransPennine Express managing director Vernon Barker said: “We remain hopeful that a solution can be found and [the industrial action] be avoided.

“We would urge the trade unions to join us in further discussions.”

RMT general secretary Bob Crow called on the firm to take a “reality check” over its 2.2 per cent pay offer.

He said accepting the offer would effectively mean a wage cut for his members at a time when inflation stood at five per cent.

Next Friday’s proposed walkout would coincide with the opening day of the 75,000-capacity Leeds Festival rock music event at Bramham Park, near Wetherby.

It would also come ahead of a series of public transport timetable changes over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Engineering work will see Northern Rail services being replaced by buses between Pontefract Monkhill, Knottingley and Goole from next Saturday through to Bank Holiday Monday.

A reduced number of trains will be running on the East Coast Main Line between London Kings Cross and Leeds after 4.30pm next Sunday.

Network Rail, the company responsible for the country’s rail infrastructure, says 3.5 per cent more trains nationwide will be operating over the Bank Holiday compared to the same period last year.

Bus services in West Yorkshire, meanwhile, will run to a Sunday timetable on Bank Holiday Monday.

Services are scheduled to operate as normal on the Saturday and Sunday.

For further information on the county’s public transport arrangements over the Bank Holiday, visit the www.wymetro.com website or ring MetroLine on 0113 245 7676.

* TransPennine Express runs trains across the north of England on a network that links Leeds with cities such as York, Sheffield and Manchester.

Date: 26th July 2017.
Picture James Hardisty
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