Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Tuesday, 4 August 2009 10:02 UK

More staff to join rail strikes

A National Express-operated East Coast line train
Talks are taking place in a bid to avert a second strike

More staff belonging to a third rail union and working for National Express East Anglia have voted to join a planned 48-hour strike on Thursday.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said 75% of more than 100 booking clerks who took part in the ballot backed the action.

Talks are taking place in a bid to halt more strikes over pay and conditions.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) and Aslef unions walked out for 48 hours last week.

If the action goes ahead, services in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex and into London will be hit.

'Management failures'

The Stansted airport service will also be affected.

TSSA general secretary Gerry Doherty accused National Express East Anglia of "high-handed" management style, adding: "We have had continued problems at East Anglia and on the East Coast line as the company has tried to drive down costs in its unsuccessful bid to hang on to the East Coast franchise.

"Our members are now saying they are no longer willing to pay the price for management failures with any more lost jobs or cuts in their conditions at work."

Andrew Chivers, managing director of National Express East Anglia, said the unions' demands were "totally unrealistic".

He said: "We have offered salary increases above the rate of inflation, and remain available at any time for discussions.

"Strike action is unnecessary, simply not the solution and I would like to apologise to our customers."

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