Train drivers announce fresh set of strike dates in December

Image above: SWR train at Chiswick Station; Photograph by Nick Raikes

Walkouts will affect trains between 2-8 December

Train drivers have announced a fresh set of strike dates in December, in a continuation of their long-running dispute over pay and conditions. The Aslef union has announced a “rolling programme” of walkouts between 2 and 8 December, with different train companies affected on each day.

Drivers will also refuse to work any overtime from 1 to 9 December. Aslef said it was time for a “proper pay rise”, but the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents operators, called the action “wholly unnecessary”.

The union has held 14 one-day strikes so far, causing huge disruption to train companies in England, as well as some services which cross borders. Aslef’s General Secretary Mick Whelan said:

“Our members have spoken and we know what they think. Every time they vote – and they have voted overwhelmingly – for strike action in pursuit of a proper pay rise it is a clear rejection of the offer that was made in April”.

South Western Railway (SWR), which services Brentford, Kew Bridge, Chiswick, Barnes Bridge and Barnes stations, said the strike action would affect services on their network, but have not yet released updated timetables or travel advice.

Image above: Southwestern train at Waterloo; Photograph Bridget Osborne

Which train company will be affected on what day?

  • Saturday 2 December services on East Midlands Railway and LNER
  • Sunday 3 December services on Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern Thameslink, and West Midlands Trains
  • Tuesday 5 December services on C2C and Greater Anglia
  • Wednesday 6 December services on Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, SWR main line, SWR depot drivers, and Island Line
  • Thursday 7 December services on CrossCountry and GWR
  • Friday 8 December services on Northern and TPT

Images above: Mick Whelan – Aslef General Secretary, Mick Lynch – RMT General Secretary

Union “determined” to win dispute

“We are determined to win this dispute,” said Mr Whelan, as he criticised Transport Secretary Mark Harper who he said had “gone missing in action during this dispute”. The union boss described the pay offer made from the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, as “risible”.

The offer put forward in April included a series of changes to working practices and a pay deal which included a 4% wage rise backdated for 2022 and a further 4% rise for 2023. The pay offer did not account for inflation.

The RMT union, who are also locked in a row with train companies over pay and working conditions, are voting on whether to accept a deal. The vote closes on 30 November, the day before Aslef’s new industrial action begins.

Regular strikes have affected train services across London and nationwide over the past 18 months.