Further Train Strikes Announced for January

Train drivers are to for the fifth time early in the new year, after members of the drivers’ union Aslef at 15 train companies plan to walk out for one day after voting for more industrial action in the long-running dispute over pay.

Meanwhile members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 14 train operators will strike for four days, meaning a week of disruption is expected.

The larger RMT Union had already announced strike action for 3-4 and 6-7 January.

It follows four days of strike action by the RMT Union a week ago (13, 14, 16 and 17 December), which severely disrupted the festive trading period for hospitality businesses, with further action planned between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

The unions are calling for their members to receive pay increases that reflect increases in the cost of living. ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan has said:: “We don’t want to go on strike but the companies have pushed us into this place. They have not offered our members at these companies a penny, and these are people who have not had an increase since April 2019.

“That means they expect train drivers at these companies to take a real-terms pay cut, to work just as hard for considerably less, when inflation is running at north of 14%. The train companies say their hands have been tied by the Government, while the Government, which does not employ us, says it’s up to the companies to negotiate with us.

“We are always happy to negotiate – we never refuse to sit down at the table and talk – but these companies have offered us nothing, and that is unacceptable.”

On Monday, Network Rail warned passengers to avoid travel on Christmas Eve when further strike action by RMT members is due to start. The walkout is scheduled to begin at 18:00 on 24 December and continue until 06:00 on 27 December.

RMT members are also taking part in an overtime ban at 14 train companies which began on Sunday and will last until 2 January.