Train drivers at eight rail companies declare fresh wave of strike action, Aslef confirms
The strike action follows a mounting dispute over pay
Drivers at four other train companies have voted in favour of strike action in a fiery row over pay, bringing the total to eight, their union Aslef confirmed.
The imminent strike action follows walkouts from the Rail, Maritime and transport union (RMT), which severed services last month.
Members of the RMT union at 13 train companies and Network Rail walked out in what was the biggest rail strike in 30 years.
Talks between the RMT union and rail operators are set to resume this week.
The Aslef ballot results are among drivers at Chiltern, GWR, LNER, London Overground, Northern, Southeastern, TransPennine and West Midlands.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association is also balloting its members at Network Rail and a number of train operators in England for industrial action.
Commuters and holidaymakers across the UK have been warned to brace for a summer of intensifying strikes, and have been advised to check timetables before setting off.
Dates for the proposed strike action have not yet been announced but unions must give 14 days notice.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: “Strikes are always the last resort. We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – our friends and families use public transport, too – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike but we’ve been forced into this position by the companies driven by the Government.
“Many of our members – who were the men and women who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic – have not had a pay rise since 2019.
“With inflation running at north of 10% that means those drivers have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years.
“We want an increase in line with the cost of living – we want to be able to buy, in 2022, what we could buy in 2021.
“It’s not unreasonable to ask your employer to make sure you’re not worse off for three years in a row.
“Especially as the train companies are doing very nicely, thank you, out of Britain’s railways, with handsome profits, dividends for shareholders, and big salaries for managers.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “It is very disappointing that, rather than commit to serious dialogue with the industry, Aslef are first seeking to cause further misery to passengers by joining others in disrupting the rail network.
“The train drivers they represent earn, on average, just under £60,000 per year – more than twice the UK median salary and significantly more than the very workers who will be most impacted by these strikes.
“Our railway is in desperate need of modernisation to make it work better for passengers and be financially sustainable for the long term. We urge the union bosses to reconsider and work with its employers, not against them, to agree a new way forward.”