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Train drivers plan rolling one-day strikes across rail companies in December

today16/11/2023

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Train drivers plan rolling one-day strikes across rail companies in December

Train drivers are to stage a series of one-day strikes and a nine-day ban on overtime next month in their long-running dispute over pay.

The Aslef union said the new walkouts will “ratchet up the pressure” on train companies and the Government to give train drivers their first pay rise in more than four years.

Union members will walk out at EMR and LNER on December 2; at Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern Thameslink, and WMT on December 3; at C2C and Greater Anglia on December 5; at Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, the SWR main line and depot, and on the Island Line on December 6; at CrossCountry and GWR on December 7; and at Northern and TPT on December 8.

All Aslef members will refuse to work any overtime from Friday December 1 to Saturday December 9.

Aslef said it had previously called all its members out on strike on the same day but by spreading the action, the ramifications for the rail industry will be “greater”.

“We are determined to win this dispute and get a significant pay rise for train drivers who have not had an increase since 2019, while the cost of living, in that time, has soared,” Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said.

“The Transport Secretary, who has gone missing in action during this dispute, says we should put the offer to our members.

“What the minister apparently fails to understand is that, since the Rail Delivery Group’s (RDG) risible offer in April, we have received overwhelming mandates, on enormous turnouts, for more industrial action.

“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.

“The RDG’s offer – a land grab for all our terms and conditions – was made in the full knowledge that it couldn’t – and wouldn’t – be accepted.”

Aslef said it had successfully struck pay deals with 14 companies in the last 12 months, including freight firms, open-access operators, Eurostar, and passenger companies in Scotland and Wales where transport issues are devolved.

“We have been unable to do a deal with the 16 train operating companies (TOCs) in England controlled by the Government.

“This is a dispute in England made at Westminster by the Tory Government.

“We gave the TOCs a way out of this dispute which they chose not to accept because the Government interfered.

“We suggested a significant across-the-board increase for all drivers, at all the companies involved, to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

“Other matters, we said, could then be dealt with company by company because terms and conditions are different at each company.

“Uncoupling the carriages, as it were, would have given the TOCs and the Government a way out, and given us an opportunity to deal, at company council level, with any changes and productivity they want.

“Some TOCs have Sundays in the working week, some don’t. One size does not – cannot and will not – fit all.

“We will continue to take industrial action until the train companies – and/or the Government – sits down and negotiates with us in good faith.”

Aslef has held 14 one-day strikes during the 18-month dispute, causing huge disruption to services across the country.

Strikes have also been held since June 2022 by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, who are now voting on a deal aimed at resolving their dispute.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

Written by: Radio News Hub


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