There have already been 12 days of strikes in the 16 month dispute
September 15, 2023
ASLEF, the train drivers’ union has announced more industrial action in its ongoing dispute over pay.
It is planning another two days of strikes – on Saturday 30 September and Wednesday 4 October – and an overtime ban across the UK rail network on Friday 29 September and from Monday 2 to Friday 6 October.
There have so far been 12 one-day strikes during this 16-month dispute.
The union says this strike will force the train operating companies (TOCs) to cancel all services and the ban on overtime will seriously disrupt the network.
Among the sixteen companies affected are Great Western Railway and South Wester Railway and the Gatwick Express may also be out of action.
Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, said, ‘While we regret having to take this action – we don’t want to lose a day’s pay, or disrupt passengers, as they try to travel by train – the government, and the employers, have forced us into this position. Our members have not, now, had a pay rise for four years – since 2019 – and that’s not right when prices have soared in that time. Train drivers, perfectly reasonably, want to be able to buy now what they could buy four years ago.’
He called for direct talks with the Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper saying there has been zero contact with the government since January and the last meeting with the Rail Delivery Group was in April.
He continued, ‘So where is Mark Harper? He holds the purse strings. The train companies have told us. They say they cannot act without his say-so. He’s the puppet master controlling the companies. But he’s hiding. What’s the man afraid of? We think it’s time Harper stepped up to the mark…’
The earlier offer from the Rail Delivery Group included changes to working practices which would enable pay rises of 4% for one year and 4% the next but the union claims this was ‘designed to be rejected’ and have not put it to the membership.
The median salary for train drivers is around £60,000.
When asked about the strike announcement Mark Harper described them as "cynical" and "politically motivated".
The 16 companies affected include: Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; c2c; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; Great Western Railway; Island Line; LNER; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.
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