ASLEF calls drivers out on strike again

Updated 10.57

ASLEF has announced a series of strikes by train drivers between 2 and 8 December, in its continuing dispute over pay.

Unlike previous walkouts, the strikes will affect different operators in England each day, but there will also be a general overtime ban from 1 to 9 December.

ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: ‘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 drivers’ union has already staged 14 daily strikes since the dispute began in the spring of last year. It described the last pay offer, which was made some six months ago, as ‘risible’.

The Rail Delivery Group said: ‘This wholly unnecessary strike action called by the ASLEF leadership will sadly disrupt customers and businesses ahead of the vital festive period, while further damaging the railway at a time when it is still getting an extra £175 million a month in taxpayer cash.

‘The fair and affordable offer made by industry, which would take average driver base salaries for a 4-day week from £60,000 to nearly £65,000, remains on the table. We urge the ASLEF leadership to put it to its members, give Christmas back to our passengers, and end this damaging industrial dispute.’

The Department for Transport added: ‘It is disappointing that ASLEF are targeting the public and hospitality businesses at the beginning of the festive period, when there is a fair and reasonable pay offer for train drivers on the table that would take their salary up to an average of £65,000 for a 35-hour, four-day week.

‘Taxpayers contributed £1000 per household to protect train drivers’ jobs during the pandemic. Instead of going on strike, ASLEF should be following in the footsteps of the other rail unions and giving their members a vote on this fair pay deal.’

The walkouts will affect East Midlands Railway and LNER on 2 December; Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern, Thameslink and West Midlands Trains on the 3rd; c2c and Greater Anglia on the 5th, Southeastern, Southern, Gatwick Express, South Western Railway main line, SWR depot drivers and Island Line on the 6th; CrossCountry and GWR on the 7th and Northern and TransPennine Express on the 8th.

The strike call has come at a time when the separate dispute involving the RMT could be coming to an end.

A vote on the latest pay offer is currently under way, and will close on 30 November.

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