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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 16:43 GMT
Strikes threaten travel chaos
Commuters at Waterloo Station, London
Further strikes have been announced
Rail commuters across many parts of the UK are facing further disruption after train and tube staff announced a fresh wave of industrial action.

London Underground train drivers are to stage two 48-hour strikes in March in a dispute over pay, unions announced on Thursday.

Drivers employed by ScotRail are also due to hold four one-day strikes next month in their pay dispute with the company.

Meanwhile, conductors at Arriva Trains Northern are to be balloted over whether to refuse to charge people for travelling on set days rather than continuing with further strikes.

But commuters in northern England still face the prospect of strike action planned by two unions for 1 and 2 March.

The latest announcements come after travellers across the rail network have faced months of disruption due to industrial action.

Underground stoppages

Tube passengers face travel chaos next month after members of the drivers' union Aslef and the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) voted in favour of walking out on 5 March and again on 26 March.

Aslef announced on Thursday that 847 Tube drivers backed industrial action with 191 voting against.

On ScotRail, Aslef members voted 558 in favour and 37 against walkouts on 1, 6, 11 and 19 March.

ScotRail drivers have been pressing for pay parity with drivers in England and Wales and have called for a "substantial" pay rise.

'Free fares'

And on Arriva Trains, unions have decided to stop strike action in favour of the "fare free" days, in order to hit the firm's profits but not disrupt services for passengers, according to the RMT.

It is the latest tactic in a long-running row between Arriva Northern Trains (ATN) and conductors over pay.

Talks in London on Wednesday between rail management and union officials broke down.

Conductors are asking for a pay rise comparable to the 18% increase recently awarded to drivers at the company.

The company has offered 3% with another potential 5% tied to productivity arrangements.

Arriva has said the door was open for "meaningful discussions".

Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) and RMT union have agreed to stage a 48-hour stoppage starting on 1 March.

A series of strikes over pay also earlier hit South West Trains which links the south coast to London.

Industrial action was called off earlier this month for talks between management and unions.

The BBC's Simon Montague
"It will cripple train services"
See also:

21 Feb 02 | England
Conductors vote on 'no fare' days
21 Feb 02 | Scotland
ScotRail drivers to strike
21 Feb 02 | England
Tube drivers to strike
20 Feb 02 | England
Arriva's 'efficiency' boast banned
09 Feb 02 | England
Rail union calls off strikes
05 Feb 02 | UK
Rail disputes at a glance
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