Train drivers affiliated with the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef) union are set to strike in January and February due to ongoing disputes surrounding pay.
The strike period is set to run from midnight on Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6 February, but it will not be a continuous action.
The Rail Delivery Group, the body consisting of Network Rail and the various train operating companies (TOCs), claimed the train drivers had previously been made an offer that would take base salaries to nearly £65,000.
According to Aslef, the strikes will go ahead due to members of the union not receiving a “single penny increase” in their pay in over five years, especially during periods of high inflation. The industrial action follows the first dispute by Aslef in July 2022.
Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, emphasised how the situation has escalated.
Whelan said: “We have given the government every opportunity to come to the table, but it has now been a year since we had any contact from the Department for Transport. They do not want to resolve this dispute.
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“Train drivers didn’t even ask for an increase during the Covid-19 pandemic when they worked throughout as key workers, risking their lives to allow NHS and other workers to travel”.
“There’s no excuse. The government and train operating companies must come to the table with a realistic offer so we can end this dispute and work together to ensure the future of our railways” added Whelan.
Which companies will be affected?
- Tuesday 30 January: South-eastern, GTR Southern/Gatwick Express, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, SWR Island Line and South Western Railway.
- Wednesday 31 January: Northern Trains and Transpennine Trains striking.
- Friday 2 February: Greater Anglia, C2C and LNER
- Saturday 3 February: West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast and East Midlands Railway
- Monday 5 February: Great Western, CrossCountry and Chiltern.
The UK Government introduced the Minimum Service Levels Legislation, which Aslef claims is an “old trick of changing the rules when they can’t win”.
As previously reported, the legislation is set to “mitigate disruption” in case of future strikes, allowing for 40% of operations to run as “normal”.
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: “Nobody wins when strikes impact lives and livelihoods, and they’re particularly difficult to justify at a time when taxpayers are continuing to contribute an extra £54m a week to keep services running post covid.
“Despite the railway’s huge financial challenge, drivers have been made an offer which would take base salaries to nearly £65,000 for a four-day week before overtime – that is well above the national average.
“Instead of staging more damaging industrial action, we call on the ASLEF leadership to work with us to resolve this dispute and deliver a fair deal which both rewards our people and makes the changes needed to make services more reliable.”