As inflation soars, workers understandably want pay rises that reflect their new financial circumstances, while train operators dealing with major increases in energy costs are, equally understandably, reluctant to add big increases to their wage bills.
However, while both sides argue over the deals that they know will eventually be reached, the resulting disruption has an effect on people’s everyday lives.
Independent passenger body Transport Focus has now warned that problems for passengers of one of the biggest cross-Border rail operators, Avanti, could prove to be lasting.
And Robert Samson, of Transport Focus, warned that passengers were having to deal with difficulties in booking tickets more than a few days in advance as well as “cancellations, overcrowding and poor information online”.
“This disruption is having a huge impact, potentially putting large numbers of people off using the train for good,” he added.
Once trains were viewed as outdated relics of the steam age. But, following the recognition that this highly efficient form of transport is vital in the drive towards net-zero carbon emissions and the fight against climate change, they are now very much recognised as an important part of our future.
But that will only be the case if the travelling public has confidence in the services they provide. Both sides of rail pay disputes would do well to keep this in mind.