Commonwealth Games rail strike ‘as cynical as it comes’, says Nadine Dorries –

Commonwealth Games rail strike ‘as cynical as it comes’, says Nadine Dorries

The Government on Wednesday night branded rail unions “as cynical as it comes” for calling a strike on the eve of the Commonwealth Games and the day of a Women’s European Championship semi-final.

Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, said the July 27 walkout would “bring misery to ordinary families” with tickets to two of the summer’s biggest sporting events.

It is feared that day of industrial action, which also coincides with the England men’s cricket team’s one-day international against South Africa in Bristol, could be the first of several to impact attendances at such events and other fixtures.

As well as the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the climax of Euro 2022 and summer of international cricket, those could potentially include the start of the Premier League and English Football League season.

Dorries said: “The rail unions’ decision to target their strike action at a fantastic summer of sport is about as cynical as it comes.

“The unions’ actions will severely impact the spectator experience of both the Women’s Euros and the start of the Commonwealth Games. This will bring misery to ordinary families who just want to make the most of this opportunity.

“We are working round the clock with the Football Association, Birmingham 2022 organisers, local councils and transport providers to make sure spectators can get to and from venues safely and efficiently.”

A wave of strikes during Birmingham 2022 could wreck plans to make it the most sustainable Commonwealth Games ever.

Organizers had been planning for around 40pc of the expected million attendees to travel to and from events by train.

But the threat of strikes forced the West Midlands Combined Authority to draw up a contingency plan involving the Government spending £4m on rail replacement buses.

It was unclear on Wednesday night whether Birmingham 2022 would allow ticket-holders unable or unwilling to travel in light of the strikes to claim a refund.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT) will walk out for 24 hours from midnight to midnight on July 27 in action that also risks leaving services in disarray on the following morning.

Separately, the drivers union’ Aslef was on the verge of launching its own strikes, which could be timed to take place between 2am on July 27 and 2am the following day.

The strikes follow a “final offer” by Network Rail, which owns tracks, stations and signals, to the RMT on Tuesday that eclipsed the wage increases offered to nurses, teachers and doctors.


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