Manchester City and Manchester United fans are facing major travel disruptions for the FA Cup Final after train drivers announced fresh strikes in a long queue over pay.
Aslef has rejected a “laughable” four per cent payment offer from the 16 railway companies he remains in discussions with and has announced union members will leave on May 12 and 31 and then June 3, when Wembley will host the final all of Manchester.
The Football Association only confirmed on Wednesday that the final would start at the traditional time of 3.00pm after the Metropolitan Police deemed it a high-risk match, therefore insisting on a kick-off no later than 4.45pm.
The early kick-off allows supporters to return from London on public transport, but Aslef’s planned train strike has thrown the plans of thousands of supporters into chaos.
Both clubs are assessing the situation and will be working with the FA, authorities and supporters’ groups, with the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust expressing their frustration at the situation.
“A train strike on the final day of the cup will be a huge disruption to the tens of thousands of fans traveling from Manchester to London that day,” MUST said in a statement to the PA news agency.
“We need all modes of transport available to cope with the level of demand and railways are a key part of that.
“We ask the government and the union to come to the table and find a way to avoid this union action”.
Aslef’s general secretary Mick Whelan said drivers had not had a pay rise at the companies they are in conflict with since 2019.
“Our executive committee met this morning and rejected a ridiculous proposal we received from the Rail Delivery Group,” he said.
“The proposal – by just four percent – was clearly not meant to be accepted as inflation is still above 10 percent and our members of these companies have not seen any increases for four years.
“The RDG, in turn, has rejected our proposals to modernize Britain’s railways and help them run more efficiently, for passengers and for business, in the 21st century.
“As a result, today we announced another three days of strike action on Friday 12 May, Wednesday 31 May and Saturday 3 June at the companies we are in conflict with who are letting passengers and taxpayers down so badly.
We also collect non-contractual overtime from Monday 15 May to Saturday 20 inclusive, as well as Saturday 13 May and Thursday 1 June.
The railway companies involved in the dispute are: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, London North Eastern Railway, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway, depot drivers for SWR, SWR Island Line, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains.
The May 12 strike will take place the day before the Eurovision final in Liverpool.
An RDG spokesman said: “This is disappointing news for our customers and staff, further strike action is totally unnecessary and will only increase pressure on an industry already facing a severe financial crisis.
“Unnecessarily targeting both the Eurovision final and the FA Cup final is disappointing for all who intend to attend.”