Train drivers at 16 rail companies to stage fresh wave of strikes in another blow for commuters, Aslef says

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TRAIN drivers at 16 rail companies are to stage a fresh wave of strikes in a long-running dispute over pay, threatening more travel chaos for passengers across the country.

Members of Aslef will hold a rolling programme of one-day walkouts between April 5 and 8, coupled with a six-day ban on overtime.

GettyTrain drivers at 16 rail companies are to stage a fresh wave of strikes[/caption]

The union said it wanted to increase the pressure on the “intransigent” train companies and the “tone-deaf” government following a series of strikes stretching back 20 months.

Train drivers have now not had a pay rise for five years, since April 2019, said Aslef.

Drivers will strike on Friday April 5 at Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, and CrossCountry, on Saturday April 6 at Chiltern, GWR, LNER, Northern, and TransPennine, and on Monday April 8 at c2c, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway main line and depot drivers, and SWR Island Line.

Members will also refuse to work their rest days from Thursday April 4 to Saturday 6 April and from Monday 8 to Tuesday 9 April.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “Last month, when we announced renewed mandates for industrial action, because under the Tories’ draconian anti-union laws we have to ballot our members every six months, we called on the train companies, and the government, to come to the table for meaningful talks to negotiate a new pay deal for train drivers who have not had an increase in salary since 2019.

“Our members voted overwhelmingly – yet again – for strike action.

“Those votes show a clear rejection by train drivers of the ridiculous offer put to us in April last year by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) which knew that offer would be rejected because a land grab for all the terms and conditions we have negotiated over the years would never be accepted by our members.

“Since then train drivers have voted, time and again, to take action in pursuit of a pay rise. That’s why Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, is being disingenuous when he says that offer should have been put to members.

“Drivers wouldn’t vote for industrial action, again and again and again, if they thought that was a good offer. That offer was dead in the water in April last year and Mr Harper knows that.

“We asked Mr Harper, or his deputy, the rail minister Huw Merriman, to come and meet us. We asked the Rail Delivery Group and the Train Operating Companies (TOCs) to come and talk to us.

“We haven’t heard from Mr Harper, Mr Merriman, the RDG, or the TOCs since those new mandates were announced four weeks ago.

“In fact, Mr Harper hasn’t deigned to talk to us since December 2022. Mr Merriman hasn’t talked to us since January 2023 and the RDG has not seen fit to join us in the room since April last year.

“We have given the government every opportunity to come to the table but it is now clear they do not want to resolve this dispute. They are happy for it go on and on.”

The April 8 strike coincides with a strike by train drivers on London Underground in a separate dispute over terms and conditions.

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