Train drivers have announced three more days of strike action - including on FA Cup final day.
Aslef confirmed plans for drivers to walk out on 12 May, 31 May and 3 June as part of a long-running pay dispute. Thirteen thousand workers are expected to strike from 16 rail companies. The June strike date coincides with the FA Cup final at Wembley, when thousands of fans of Manchester City and Manchester United will be travelling to London to watch their teams in the first-ever all Manchester final.
Avanti, which runs the West Coast mainline from Manchester to London, is among the operators affected.
Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “The blame for this action lies, fairly and squarely, at the feet of the employers who have forced our hand over this by their intransigence.”
City and United fans reacted to the news on our Facebook page today, with some saying they were planning to travel by coach instead, and others saying drivers could lose public support with the move.
The train operating companies involved in the dispute are: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, London North Eastern Railway, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway, SWR depot drivers, SWR Island Line, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains.
A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “This is disappointing news for our customers and staff, more strike action is totally unnecessary and will only heap more pressure on an industry already facing an acute financial crisis. Senselessly targeting both the final of Eurovision and the FA Cup final is disappointing for all those planning to attend.”