Will there be train strikes in Scotland in June? What has train drivers’ union Aslef said about ScotRail deal

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Union urges members to accept new offers on pay and conditions, and urges UK government to stop blocking English deal

Train drivers in Scotland look set to accept a “significant” new pay deal which could end the threat of industrial action

The drivers’ union Aslef said it had received a new offer from national operator ScotRail and was recommending its members accept it. 

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Aslef, which represents train drivers across the UK, has held a series of nationwide strikes since June last year and has more planned for late May and early June. The most recent strike, in early May, saw hundreds of services cut and affected routes into Scotland, although ScotRail staff were not directly involved. 

Now it is recommending that its members in Scotland accept the renewed offer, along with drivers in Wales, who have also been offered an improved deal. It said that the latest offers from ScotRail and Transport for Wales (TfW) were evidence that negotiations worked and that it was time for operators in England to re-engage in talks to reach a settlement.

The one-year offer from ScotRail is for a 5% pay increase, taking drivers’ salary from £55,264 to £58,027, along with what the union described as an improvement in conditions. 

In Wales, drivers have been offered a four-year deal, bringing an 8.9% raise this year, backdated to April 1, with another 7.9% in April 2024 and a further 4.1% in December 2024, which will take drivers’ pay to £71,000.

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Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, said: “Subject to the decision of our members we have successfully negotiated significant pay increases for our members with the governments of the devolved nations.

“The latest deal with ScotRail is a further increase in salary and improvement in conditions – and the fourth increase since our members at those 15 train operating companies (TOC) represented by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and controlled by the Department for Transport (DfT) have had a rise.”

David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, said: “I’m pleased that the Aslef executive committee has approved this strong pay offer and has recommended that its members vote to accept it.

“After several weeks of constructive negotiations, it’s really positive that drivers will be given a say and that Aslef is recommending that colleagues accept the offer. We believe that the pay offer is a strong one. It’s one that is both fair to staff and would deliver value to the taxpayer, and we are encouraging our driver colleagues to accept.”

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Even if drivers in Scotland and Wales accept the new deals, passengers making cross-border journeys could still face disruption in coming months as Aslef members in England continue to strike at 15 train companies represented by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

Whelan said that the new deals from ScotRail and TfW were in “stark contrast” with the response from operators in England and the Westminster government. He said: “This is further proof that Aslef is willing to negotiate in good faith and modernise our railway and further proof that the failure of negotiations with the TOCs in England is the responsibility of Transport Secretary Mark Harper, the DfT, and the RDG. That has been laid bare for all to see."

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