Unions Agree To Talks Aimed At Ending Train Strike

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Bus and rail passengers will be left feeling the effects of strike action across Wigan today.

Billed as the "biggest disruption to passengers in decades" due to the number of operators affected, hundreds of services will be cancelled, replacement buses will be laid on and services that do run will be busier than normal.

Southern Railway train drivers today reached a pay deal, ending an 18-month dispute over driver-operated trains.

Mick Whelan, ASLEF's general secretary, said: "The agreement means we will have a second safety-trained person on every train covered by this agreement except in exceptional circumstances".

The railway has seen disruptions and industrial action since April 2016. "In fact, as we expand our fleet, we will be hiring more Drivers and Guards to help deliver more and better services for passengers".

McDonald said Labour believed the railways should aspire to the safest possible method of train despatch to ensure the maximum level of passenger service, security and safety. "Only this week at the Wimbledon derailment it was the guard on that train who safely evacuated 300 passengers in an emergency situation".

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Football fans heading to the second leg of the Republic's World Cup play-off against Denmark in Dublin next week face travel chaos after talks to resolve the Irish Rail dispute failed.

The last two deals negotiated by ASLEF's leadership have been rejected by members, but a third deal has been approved by 79.1 per cent in favour, on a turnout of 87.1 per cent.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "The RMT is playing a political game, however it has backfired as Southern will be running more than 90 per cent of services for passengers".

Irish Rail, which is already under deep financial strain, is set to lose about 1.5 million euro (£1.3 million) if staff push through with plans for another three days of stoppages.

"Driver-only operation has been operating safely for 32 years and now accounts for over a third of the United Kingdom rail network".

Labour has told the five rail operators that the party will halt any future plans to extend driver-only operations if it wins the next general election.

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