Aslef union announces more train strikes

An Aslef spokesman hinted that the mainline rail strikes may continue until autumn…reports Asian Lite News

A fresh wave of train strikes are set to hit the Easter half-term holidays, causing disruption for thousands of families across the country. Members of the Aslef union will stage strikes at 16 rail companies in a dispute over pay, threatening more travel chaos.

Members of the union will hold a rolling programme of one-day walkouts between April 5 and 8, coupled with a six-day ban on overtime. 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 had not had a pay rise since April 2019, said Aslef.

The Government, which indirectly influences drivers’ pay, terms and conditions through the contracts it has with train companies to operate the railways, has said drivers have been offered an increase that would see their average salaries rise to £65,000.

Strikes are set to hit the final weekend of the Easter holidays for many schools around the country, threatening to disrupt families’ getaways.

Aslef members will strike on Friday, April 5 at Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, and CrossCountry. On Saturday, April 6, industrial action will hit Chiltern, GWR, LNER, Northern, and TransPennine.

Monday, April 8, will see drivers walking out at c2c, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express and South Western Railway, together with the Island Line on the Isle of Wight. Union members will also refuse to work on their rest days between April 4 to April 6 and from April 8 to April 9.

Mick Whelan, the Aslef general secretary, 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.

“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.”

An Aslef spokesman hinted that the mainline rail strikes may continue until autumn.

The April 8 strike coincides with a strike by train drivers on London Underground in a separate dispute over terms and conditions. Aslef members on the Tube are also walking out on May 4 as part of that same dispute.

Earlier this year, the rival RMT trade union secured a pay rise for its Tube drivers that was worth a collective £30 million. An Aslef spokesman complained in January that Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, had found a “magic money tree” to fund the RMT rise.

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