Arriva trains in Wales hit by strike

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Media captionRail users spoke to BBC ahead of catching a bus to work on Monday

Arriva trains across Wales will not run on Monday because of a strike by drivers over terms and conditions.

Aslef and RMT union members at Arriva Trains Wales walked out for 24 hours, with all its services cancelled.

Arriva's Gareth Thomas said the company was "extremely disappointed" that the "latest offer of improvements to terms, conditions and pay" had been rejected.

Aslef has denied that a new offer had been made.

The pay side of the dispute has been accepted, but Aslef claims Arriva is trying to "railroad through" changes to terms and conditions.

The industrial action also means some early morning trains on 5 January could be disrupted.

Image caption Empty platform at Llandudno Junction station

A statement by Arriva Trains Wales said: "We deeply regret this disruption and continue to do all we can to avert strike action."

It added that it advised travellers to make alternative arrangements for Monday and to check their travel plans for Tuesday morning.

"An indefinite train driver overtime ban is also currently in force which may impact some timetabled services until the dispute is resolved," it added.

Mr Thomas said: "Directors at Arriva Trains Wales have been in contact almost every day with union officials in a bid to resolve this issue and stress the urgency of the situation if disruption to customers was to be avoided."

But Simon Weller, Aslef's national organiser, who is leading negotiations for the drivers, said: "The company has not made a new offer. It has sent us a form of words. But it is not new and it is not an offer."

What's the strike all about?

Both sides agree that they felt a compromise had been reached during talks in early November but the wording a subsequent email sent by Arriva to Aself caused concern with the union that staff would be expected to work beyond an agreed maximum 9hr 30min working day except for "special circumstances".

Aslef is concerned that staff could be required to regularly work over that time due to the frequency of such circumstances including engineering works and special events like ferrying fans to big sporting events.

But Arriva Trains Wales human resources director Mr Thomas told BBC Radio Wales it would not meaning working over by several hours.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "This strike is about basic workplace justice and decent working conditions and it is down to the company to recognise the anger amongst the workforce shown this morning and to meet with the unions for genuine and meaningful talks on the issues in dispute. "

Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew RT Davies said the strike would cause "immeasurable chaos" for commuters and called on the Welsh government to "work with all involved" to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

He said: "With the added blow that no replacement bus services will be offered, commuters face fighting a losing battle getting into work and this is clearly an unacceptable situation."

But a Welsh government spokesman said it was a matter for the train operator to resolve.

He said: "We are in contact with Arriva Trains Wales and urge a resolution to the dispute as soon as possible.

"During discussions with the company we have encouraged them to provide up-to-date information to rail passengers, particularly commuters, on likely disruptions to their journeys."

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