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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 08:34 GMT
Rail disruption in festive period
Central Trains
Passengers are urged to make alternative arrangements
Rail services across the East will be disrupted over the festive period after unions and train operators failed to reach agreements over special payments.

No Central Trains will run and Midland Mainline services will be cut on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

This will affect passengers travelling across country from Norfolk to Cambridgeshire and into the Midlands.

Midland Mainline services through Northants and Herts will also be hit.

Central Trains and the RMT Union failed to reach agreement over payments for senior conductors over Christmas.

Trains cannot run without these key staff and the company said it could not provide a bus replacement service.

'Two-tier workforce'

Central Trains managing director Steve Banaghan said most staff had accepted their holiday period payments offer but the conductors were holding out for more.

The RMT said it had two issues which the company had not addressed. They were payments over Christmas and New Year and the imposition of centralised rostering which it warned could lead to more action in 2007.

On the Midland Mainline the RMT union accused the operator of offering some workers half of a 200 lump sum given to drivers for working on the two Sundays over the festive season.

General secretary Bob Crow said: "All staff deserve equal recognition for their hard work over the year, so why the company has set about creating a two-tier workforce is beyond me - and it has angered our members."

The company said it would do its best to run a near normal service on strike days, adding that the enhanced pay was based on workers' hourly rates.

Passengers are being advised to make alternative travel arrangements where necessary.


SEE ALSO
Union plans festive rail strike
09 Dec 06 |  Nottinghamshire

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