So, it seems as though Arriva Trains Wales’ drivers have decided to enjoy a long weekend at the beginning of half-term.
On the face of things, the fact that they (allegedly) get paid less than train drivers elsewhere may not seem that fair, and the remark by Peter Leppard (ATW Operations Director) was probably a bit stupid. But let’s be realistic about this. M. Nelson’s comment on this site makes for good reading – “surely a Checkout Operator at Sainsbury's does not have the right to Strike because the are paid less that an equally trained one at Tescos.”
And whilst we’re thinking about pay discrepancies, should I get upset because those living in London get paid more than me? I’ve not heard of anyone boycotting their local pub because beer in Wales is cheaper.
Furthermore, whilst ASLEF’s members enjoy their holiday, the entire rail network in Wales is crippled, causing misery for thousands of hard-working people.
So either you can take the view that Arriva is a private company, and go with Mr Nelson. Or you can take the view that the railway is an essential service. In which case, train drivers – like NHS staff – should not be allowed to strike.
At the end of the day, even in the recession, there are other Train Driver vacancies available elsewhere at this very moment. So Arriva’s drivers are afforded more choice than most, and should either move or shut up.