Train strike dates: rail strikes announced for September by TSSA and Aslef - which train companies affected?

The TSSA and Aslef unions have announced a new train strike date for September - find out which rail companies have been affected.

Rail workers have announced new strike dates in September in an escalation of the national dispute over pay, job security and conditions.

Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) at nine train operating companies as well as Network Rail staff are set to walk out next month, as well as Aslef drivers at 12 operators.

Strikes have caused chaos for travellers across the summer, with unions such as the RMT, TSSA and Aslef all holding industrial action in protest against below inflation pay offers.

Some walk outs left fewer than a fifth of all trains running nationwide. These are the first train strike dates to be announced for September, and they might not be the last.

When will the September train strikes happen?

Members of the TSSA at nine train operating companies as well as National Rail will walk out for 24 hours from 12noon on Monday 26 September.

The strike action will coincide with the Labour Party conference in Liverpool.

As a Labour-affiliated union, the TSSA said it will be looking for support from delegates and MPs to join them on picket lines - something which Sir Keir Starmer has resisted his front bench from doing.

The union remains in talks with Network Rail about the possibility of a settlement but is urging Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to intervene in a bid to break the deadlock.

In addition, Aslef members will strike on Monday 15 September.

Manuel Cortes of the TSSA Union. Credit: LEON NEAL/AFP via Getty Images

What has been said about September train strikes?

TSSA union leader Manuel Cortes said: “The dead hand of Grant Shapps is sadly stopping train operating companies from making a revised, meaningful offer.

“Frankly, he either sits across the negotiating table with our union or gets out of the way to allow railway bosses to freely negotiate with us, as they have done in the past.

“The reason for the current impasse lies squarely at Shapps’ door and passengers are paying a high price for his incompetence and intransigence.

“I welcome the fact that negotiations are ongoing with Network Rail and the gap towards a resolution is narrowing. Time will tell whether a deal can be done to avert our next strike.

“I will be standing on our picket line in Liverpool and will be encouraging fellow delegates and Labour MPs to do likewise, so they can rightly show they stand shoulder to shoulder with those fighting the Tories’ cost-of-living crisis.”

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: “We regret that, once again, passengers are going to be inconvenienced, because we don’t want to go on strike – withdrawing our labour, although a fundamental human right, is always a last resort for a trade union – but the train companies have forced our hand.

“They want train drivers to take a real-terms pay cut – to work just as hard this year as last, but for 10% less.

“Because inflation is now in double figures and heading higher – much higher, according to some forecasts – and yet the train companies have offered us nothing.

“And this for train drivers who kept Britain moving – key workers and goods around the country – throughout the pandemic and who have not had an increase in salary since 2019.

“We want the companies, which are making big profits, and paying their chief executives enormous salaries and bonuses, to make a proper pay offer to help our members keep up with the increase in the cost of living.

“That’s why we are calling on the companies today to do the right thing, the decent thing, and come back to the negotiating table with an offer our members can accept.”

Which train companies are affected?

The TSSA has not announced specifically which companies will be joining the strike, however it said it would be similar operators to previous industrial action.

In a statement, the union said: “These companies would be at the centre of the strike on the 26 and 27 September, along with Network Rail.”

The companies and Network Rail staff who previously took part in strikes are:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • c2c
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Great Western Railway
  • LNER
  • Southeastern
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains
  • Network Rail general grades (bands 5-8) and controllers

The operating companies affected in the Aslef strike on 15 September are:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • Chiltern Railways
  • CrossCountry
  • Greater Anglia
  • Great Western Railway
  • Hull Trains
  • LNER
  • London Overground
  • Northern Trains
  • Southeastern
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains
RMT boss Mick Lynch says rail strikes could continue ‘indefinitely (image: Getty Images)

Why are rail workers striking?

The TSSA is demanding a “fair” pay rise for its members who work for Network Rail, as well as assurances over job security under plans to modernise the rail network.

While RMT members have also been striking in a dispute over pay, pension and job security, and are yet to accept an offer.

After several days of strikes in July and August, the union rejected what it called a “paltry” 8% pay rise over two years. Staff would have seen their salary rise by 4% this year and 2% next year, with the final 2% conditional on reaching what Network Rail called “modernisation milestones”.

The union wants the pay rise to be in line with inflation, which stood at 10%. It has also previously claimed that the modernisation being sought by Network Rail is a threat to jobs and to safety.

Aslef, which represents train drivers says that while it has reached deals with several train operating companies, several others “have their hands tied by the Department for Transport and aren’t able to negotiate a reasonable deal”. It says that drivers have faced wage freezes while senior managers and shareholders have seen salaries and dividends soar.

What have Network Rail and the Government said?

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “We have made a good and fair offer but, with the exception of our TSSA management grades who accepted the deal, our unions are refusing to let our employees have a say, and sadly that means more disruption on the rail network.”

In a letter to Mick Lynch, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the Government was now looking to force through modernisation proposals.

He urged the RMT to ballot its members on the latest Network Rail offer, which he called “fair and legitimate”. He also said that a pay offer from train operating companies was on the table as soon as the RMT “agree to reforms that will bring the railways off taxpayer-funded life support”.

He added: “We will not standby [sic] and allow passenger [sic] to continue suffering from the current state of affairs and so are proceeding down the path of ensuring the much overdue modernisation of working practices are put into place regardless.”

On the Aslef strike, a Department for Transport spokesperson said: “For the ninth time this summer, union leaders are choosing self-defeating strike action over constructive talks, not only disrupting the lives of millions who rely on these services but jeopardising the future of the railways and their own members’ livelihoods.

“These reforms deliver the modernisations our rail network urgently needs, are essential to the future of rail, and will happen; strikes will not change this.”