Train drivers to walk out in dispute over pay with fresh strike action set to cause CHAOS across UK

Aslef announced the strike action on the same day that London Underground workers walked out, wreaking havoc across the capital

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Train drivers at 12 operators are to strike on November 26 in the long running dispute over pay, Aslef announced.

General secretary Mick Whelan said: “We regret that passengers will be inconvenienced for another day. We don’t want to be taking this action. Withdrawing our labour is always a last resort for a trade union.

“We have come to the table, as we always will, in good faith but while the industry continues to make no offer – due to the dodgy deal they signed with the Department for Transport – we have no choice but to take strike action again.

“They want drivers to take a real terms pay cut. With inflation now well into double figures, train drivers who kept Britain moving through the pandemic are now being expected to work just as hard this year as last year but for less. Most of these drivers have not had an increase in salary since 2019.

Train drivers at 12 operators are to strike on November 26
Train drivers at 12 operators are to strike on November 26

“We want the companies – which are making huge profits – to make a proper pay offer so that our members can keep up with the cost of living.”

The 12 companies facing the fresh strike are Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; London North Eastern Railway; London Overground; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Transpennine Express, and West Midlands Trains.

Aslef members have taken a series of strikes in recent months, while the RMT and TSSA unions are also still embroiled in industrial disputes.

The announcement comes after new rail minister Huw Merriman claimed the Government had “changed the tone” on strikes which have decimated train services in recent months.

In his first speech since being appointed to the role, Mr Merriman said the “only way you get through industrial action” is to talk and “not to make a political issue of it”.

Strikes, due to begin on Saturday November 5, were called off at short notice by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), which said it had secured “unconditional” talks with Network Rail and the promise of a pay offer from the train operating companies.

A flag on an Aslef picket line
A flag on an Aslef picket line

But the union says the dispute remains “very much live” and it is continuing its re-ballot of members to secure a fresh mandate for action with the result due on November 15.

Asked if he planned to meet the union leaders, Mr Merriman told the Railway Industry Association’s annual conference in central London that the negotiations are between Network Rail, train operators and the unions, but “we stand by willing to aid in any particular way”.

He went on: “Whilst there are no current plans for me to go in the room because that hasn’t been requested, myself and the Secretary of State (Mark Harper), I think we’ve changed the tone in terms of how we feel about trade unions.

“We understand they have their members to represent but we do badly need to see this actually come to an end.

“It’s cost the railway about half a billion (pounds) this year, and I’m talking about growing the railway.

“If we don’t get the services restored I’m worried people give up on rail, and that would be no good for any of you but also no good for the members of those trade unions.”