First Capital Connect UPDATED - Harpenden MP hits out at "militants"

PUBLISHED: 15:37 17 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:39 06 May 2010

MP Peter Lilley has hit out at what he called coordinated action taken by militants to prevent trains running. The MP for Hitchin and Harpenden challenged the Transport Minister in Parliament about whether his constituents would be entitled to compensatio

MP Peter Lilley has hit out at what he called coordinated action taken by militants to prevent trains running.

The MP for Hitchin and Harpenden challenged the Transport Minister in Parliament about whether his constituents would be entitled to compensation for disruption of First Capital Connect (FCC) train services during the current dispute which has been caused by drivers refusing to work overtime or on rest days.

He also questioned whether the action being taken by drivers were outside the law and added: "Does that mean that the company can take action against the unions or do the Government propose to do so?"

Transport minister Chris Mole admitted that the action which was causing the disruption appeared to be coordinated but said that reimbursement was a matter for the company.

Mr Lilley went on: "My constituents have been flooding me with emails complaining about not only cancellations but short trains, overcrowding and poor communication by the company."

"Many of them are spending more that £3,000 a year on season tickets and they want to know whether they will get any reimbursement for the failure to deliver the services for which they have paid."

But ASLEF union representative Mick Whelan said today: "Peter Lilley should know better. I cannot force my members to work overtime or to come in on their rest days. This is not an official union dispute. I have been balloting my members to try and get it to that point but at present all they are doing is working their allotted number of hours.

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