Rail company seeks talks to avert strikes

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train drivers on a route linking Yorkshire and London were today due to strike over pensions, despite bosses asking union officials to take part in talks.

Members of the drivers’ union Aslef at East Midlands Trains staged two 24-hour walkouts last week and are planning further stoppages on Thursday and on May 15 and 17.

The union said talks had been arranged with the Stagecoach-owned firm for Thursday, adding that its general secretary Mick Whelan will lead its negotiations.

But Clare McCartney, the firm’s HR director, said: “We want to meet now to get this unnecessary dispute resolved. This is a strike over nothing. The average driver will lose around £1,200 in pay by following Aslef’s misguided call.

“We have a strong track record of properly funding pensions and we will continue to do so.”

East Midlands Trains, which runs services from Sheffield to St Pancras, said there will be a reduced service on strike days, including replacement buses.