Fury as rail union chief Mick Whelan says it’s ‘coincidence’ strike will hit FA Cup final

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, joins union members on the picket line outside Newcastle station. Rail passengers will suffer fresh travel disruption in the next few days because of more strikes in long-running disputes over pay, jobs and conditions. Picture date: Wednesday May 31, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story INDUSTRY Strikes. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

A FOOTBALL-loving union leader yesterday insisted it was a coincidence that a train strike would hit the FA Cup Final.

Aslef’s Mick Whelan was grilled on why he was targeting sports events and specific popular days.

Aslef’s Mick Whelan told the BBC that it was ‘coincidence’ that a train strike would hit the FA Cup Final

He told the BBC: “We don’t do it on that basis, as you know. I don’t think there’s a day in this country where there’s not a pop concert or something going on.”

Asked whether it was just a coincidence, that train drivers in his union were striking on the biggest sporting day in the summer calendar, the Chelsea supporter replied: “Yes.”

Saturday’s strike will hit supporters travelling to see Manchester United play Manchester City at Wembley and 100,000 racing fans going to Epsom for the Derby.

The disruption will also hit those heading to Beyoncé’s Renaissance gig at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and cricket fans going to the England v Ireland Test Match at Lord’s.

A Tory source said: “No one’s buying Mick Whelan’s claim.

“As a football fan, he knows full well when the Cup final is.

“While the Government’s pay offer would see his drivers take home an average salary of £65,000, Whelan’s blocked members from voting on it and is spitefully causing misery for City and United fans coming to London.”

Millions of commuters endured rail misery yesterday as Aslef staff went on strike for the day.

RMT members will walk out tomorrow before Aslef strikes again.

Aslef is also starting an overtime ban, which will hit even more services.

Mr Whelan admitted yesterday that the union was making “zero progress” in talks.

Did you miss our previous article…