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More rail strikes set on busy day for sport and big events

More rail strikes set on busy day for sport and big events

Two of the nine companies where staff will walk out serve the West Midlands.

It leads to the prospect of another day of reduced services, with some areas not being served at all.

Industry leaders said the 24-hour walkout by members of the Aslef union next Saturday, August 13, coincides with another busy weekend of football. Other big regional events attracting people from outside the region include Shrewsbury Flower Show and the open day for the University of Wolverhampton.

Timetables will be published on Tuesday, but passengers are being advised to follow the latest travel advice, check before they set off and allow extra time for their journey.

Other companies not involved in the strike will be running trains, but these are expected to be busy.

The strikes will affect Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains, Crosscountry, Arriva Rail London, Greater Anglia including Stansted Express, Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, London Overground and Southeastern.

Passengers are advised to consider starting journeys later, on Sunday, August 14. Those with advance, off-peak or anytime tickets affected by the strike can use their ticket either on the day before the date on the ticket, or up to and including Tuesday, August 16, or can change their tickets to travel on an alternate date, or get a refund if their train is cancelled or rescheduled.

Steve Montgomery, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We’re really disappointed that the Aslef leadership has, for the second time in as many weeks, decided to impose yet more uncertainty for passengers and businesses by disrupting passengers’ weekend plans.

“I will reiterate what I’ve previously said – I am ready and willing to talk to the leadership of Aslef today, tomorrow or indeed any time next week. They should call off next week’s action and talk to us instead. What our passengers and our staff expect is for us to talk and work out a way through this.

“While we will do all that we can to minimise disruption and to get passengers where they need to be, if you are going to travel on the routes affected, please plan ahead and check the latest travel advice.

“Like any service or business, things do not just stand still and we must move with the times. We want to give our people a pay rise as we know everyone is feeling the pinch due to the cost-of-living rises.

“We have to find the money somewhere as we cannot continue to ask taxpayers or passengers for more, so we must modernise and adapt to changes in passenger behaviour.

“By making these necessary reforms, such as ending the reliance on volunteer working at weekend, we improve punctuality, have more resilient Sunday services, and use those savings to give our people a pay rise, which has always been what we want to do.

“Further strikes will see our people out of pocket and mean less money to fund a pay rise, so we urge the Aslef leadership to come and talk to us so we can reach a deal that is fair to staff and taxpayers, and which secures a bright, long-term future for our railway.”

More action is planned by the RMT union, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association and Unite for August 18 and 20.

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Rail strikes spell Glastonbury travel trouble – and small events fear ‘catastophe’

A national strike across Britain’s railways will have a catastrophic effect on the live music and events industry if it goes ahead later this summer, trade bodies have warned.

More than 50,000 workers at Network Rail and 13 train companies, represented by the RMT union, are set to walk out on 21 June in a dispute over job cuts and pay freezes, with further strikes planned for 23 June and 25 June.

About 10,000 London Underground workers are also set to strike on 21 June in a separate dispute over pensions and job losses. The strikes are expected to cause severe disruption and come at the height of festival season, with Glastonbury taking place in Somerset from 22 June for the first time since the pandemic.

GWR, the train company serving Castle Cary, the station closest to Glastonbury, has said it hopes to maintain timetabled trains from London Paddington throughout the festival. But it said other parts of its network were likely to be “more affected” by the strike action and that customers “may need to consider alternative ways to travel to a station serving Castle Cary”.

National Express, which is providing coaches from 70 locations, said it had seen a “significant increase” in bookings for travel on the dates of the planned rail strikes and was “working hard to increase availability where possible”.

Other events, including a concert series with artists including Elton John at Hyde Park and the UK Athletics Championships in Manchester, are also scheduled for that week.

Michael Kill, from the Night Time Industries Association, which represents nightclubs, event venues and festival organisers said the proposed industrial action could have a “catastrophic” impact on the sector, which he said was “very fragile” following the pandemic and amid the cost of living crisis. “It just seems like at every corner there’s another barrier,” he said.

RMT members protest outside St Pancras station during a Tube strike in London on 6 June 2022.
RMT members protest outside St Pancras station during a Tube strike in London on 6 June 2022. Photograph: Vuk Valcic/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Jon Collins, chief executive of Live, an umbrella body for trade associations in the live music and entertainment business, said the action could be devastating for event operators already struggling to recover from the pandemic, with smaller businesses likely to be hardest hit.

“While our members are understanding of the RMT’s concerns, there’s a frustration that this has come at a time when we’re trying to rebuild the live music industry after almost two years of closure,” he said.

“It’s not just the Glastonburys of this world. It’s the smaller festivals and gigs, where people have paid £8 or £15 for a ticket, where customers may think, ‘I’m going to have to not go.’ That means the event may go ahead but you may not make the profit you were hoping for, which could be business-critical in this year of all years.”

Announcing the strike on 7 June, the RMT said railway workers had been treated “appallingly” and that despite its “best efforts” in negotiations, “the rail industry, with the support of the government, has failed to take their concerns seriously”.

General secretary Mick Lynch said: “Rail companies are making at least £500m a year in profits, while fat cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic. This unfairness is fuelling our members’ anger and their determination to win a fair settlement.

“RMT is open to meaningful negotiations with rail bosses and ministers, but they will need to come up with new proposals to prevent months of disruption on our railways.”

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Calgary city council strikes committee to oversee work on event centre project – Calgary |

Calgary city council strikes committee to oversee work on event centre project - Calgary |

Calgary’s city council has struck a committee tasked with overseeing progress on an event centre project just months after an agreement with Calgary Flames ownership collapsed prior to construction.

The creation of the committee comes after council spent hours behind closed doors on Tuesday morning.

In a unanimous vote, council agreed to appoint Ward 1 Coun. Sonya Sharp, and her colleagues Dan McLean and Courtney Walcott to the committee. Councillors also agreed to appoint Deborah Yedlin from the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and Brad Parry from Calgary Economic Development as public members.

“I think it’s not if an event centre gets built, but when an event centre gets built,” Sharp told reporters. “The one thing I can guarantee with this committee is speed.”

Sharp said she’s hoping the committee holds its first meeting sometime in the next month.

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Calgary city council united in commitment to new event centre after lengthy meeting

It comes after a unanimous vote by city council in January to find a third party to engage with Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) to gauge their interest in re-entering discussions to build an event centre, as well as seek third parties interested in partnering on the project.

According to the committee’s terms of reference, it will be tasked with reviewing information provided by city administration and the undisclosed third party regarding development of an event centre within a culture and entertainment district.

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City council seeks 3rd party to ‘start fresh,’ find partners for Calgary Event Centre

City council seeks 3rd party to ‘start fresh,’ find partners for Calgary Event Centre – Jan 13, 2022

The committee is also being tasked with building on work already undertaken by the Event Centre Assessment Committee. That committee, chaired by then-Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison, was formed in 2018 by the previous city council to develop a partnership framework, financial strategy and determine a location to build a new event centre.

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“The mandate is to build on the foundation that was created on the previous file and also to move forward in any way necessary,” Mayor Jyoti Gondek said.

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Calgary arena deal officially comes to an end after Dec. 31 deadline

The agreement between the City of Calgary and CSEC to replace the aging Saddledome officially came to an end on Dec. 31, 2021 with just weeks to go until construction work was scheduled to begin.

CSEC said at the time that there was no viable path to complete the project due to rising costs, as well as concerns with the infrastructure and climate costs attached to the development permit by the Calgary Planning Commission.

At the time, CSEC said the Flames plan to stay and play at the Saddledome “for many years to come.”

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Calgary city council discusses how event centre deal fell through

Calgary city council discusses how event centre deal fell through – Jan 12, 2022

Gondek said she feels council is “in really good shape” and united in its commitment to build an event centre and entertainment and culture district in the Victoria Park area.

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“Not only in January did we come together unanimously as a council to say we need to move forward on seeing what an event centre looks like in an arts and culture district, entertainment district, if you will,” Gondek said. “Now, unanimously, we have appointed members to the committee that will oversee the work of administration and the third party.”

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Gondek says City of Calgary is committed to building event centre

Walcott told reporters he sees his role on the committee in two parts: ensure the project is an anchor in the redevelopment in East Victoria Park and ensure public money is being used responsibly.

“The people that are going to be sitting within this space have to guarantee that whatever is being provided to the public and the bill that is being footed to pay for it, is something that everybody can see value in,” Walcott said.

–More to come

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