West Midlands Mayor Andy Street fears the strikes could bring the region’s transport network to a standstill. He said: “Four-and-a-half years of planning could be at risk. The goal is the Games for all.

“We are ready to deliver on that promise by including free public transport as part of this proposal.”

“I would like to urge all rail staff to protect the Games and play their part in what will be a great celebration for the West Midlands, the country and the Commonwealth.”

Mr Street’s concerns were echoed by Nadine Dorries, Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who said: “The West Midlands is proud and excited to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.”

“It’s a shame that the unions are trying to sabotage them.”

“It would be a real shame if the strike spoils this moment for locals and visitors at a time when the whole country should be coming together to celebrate the best in sport.”

Solihull MP Julian Knight said: “It is appalling to think that after years of planning the Commonwealth Games could be so badly damaged by these unnecessary rail strikes.”

“My heart is not only with the fans, but also with the volunteers.”

The planned union vote includes members working for West Midlands Trains, which provides services between cities in the West Midlands and local trains in Birmingham itself.

The results of the vote will be announced tomorrow, and legislation requires a two-week delay before protests begin. So the strikes can start on July 25.

The Games, which start on July 28, cost £778 million, of which £594 million came from central government.

Spectators will be invited to reach the venue by train.

The Aslef union expressed the hope that the railway companies will conclude agreements that will avoid strikes. General secretary Mick Whelan said: “Strike action is always a last resort for this union. But many of our members have not received a raise since 2019.


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