Lochaber Times leader for June 23

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Today (Thursday) will see the second of the three 24-hour strikes which are paralysing rail networks across Lochaber, the wider Highland region and Scotland – as well as the rest of the UK.

The third will be this Saturday and the upheaval caused to people’s daily travel and holiday plans, not to mention for local businesses in Lochaber that depend on visitors who come by train, will be significant.

One well-known Scottish economics expert, who is quoted in our front page lead story this week, thinks anything up to £1.5million could be the bill in lost revenue for the Lochaber economy – from just a single week.

It is members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union who are striking, including signallers, maintenance workers, ticket collectors and cleaners.

Train drivers are – mostly – not involved in the dispute as their union is ASLEF, not the RMT.

The RMT argues that during the last two years of the Covid crisis, many of its members kept working to help keep the country moving and were hailed as heroes but are now being rewarded with job cuts, changes to working conditions and pay rises below the rate of inflation after years of wage freezes.

Let us hope this is resolved quickly and, most importantly, fairly, for all our sakes.