Image above: Chiswick Station; photograph George Westwood
Two more sets of strike dates announced in long-running dispute over pay and conditions
The train drivers’ union has announced two more days of strikes and an overtime ban over pay. ASLEF members will walk out on Saturday 30 September and Wednesday 4 October. The second date will have an impact on the end of the Conservative Party Conference, taking place in Manchester.
An overtime ban will be in place across the UK rail network on Friday 29 September and from 2-6 October (Monday to Friday).
The 16 companies affected are: 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.
No end in sight for dispute
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.”
ASLEF and the RMT, which represents other rail workers, have been in a dispute with train companies over pay and working conditions, leading to repeated strike action in the last year and a half.
The latest proposals put up by train operators in the spring were rejected, halting progress. The proposals included changes to working practices that would allow for 4% pay increases one year and 4% the following.
The Rail Delivery Group, which oversees operations of the 16 affected companies, insists pay rises must be linked to changes.
“The union have rejected a fair and affordable offer without putting it to their members,” a spokesperson told the BBC.
“We ask the Aslef leadership and executive to recognise the very real financial challenge the industry is facing and work with us to deliver a more reliable and robust railway for the future.”