Train drivers’ union Aslef has confirmed that its members will stage another strike in November after failing to reach a settlement with employers.
The announcement comes just days after the RMT union cancelled three days of nationwide strike action and threatens to bring more chaos to rail services across the country. Aslef said it had been left no choice but to take industrial action after train companies failed to make a pay offer.
When are train drivers going on strike?
Aslef has said that its members will stage a 24-hour walkout on Saturday 26 November. The latest action follows multiple days of strikes in July, August and October. Planned strike action in September was cancelled following the death of the Queen.
Announcing the date, Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “We regret that passengers will be inconvenienced for another day. We don’t want to be taking this action. Withdrawing our labour is always a last resort for a trade union.”
However, the strike will no longer affect the London Overground, following a fresh pay offer. Members of Aslef on the service in the capital were due to walk out on the same day (26 November), but they will now vote on the offer, which is believed to be 5%.
What train companies are affected?
Unlike recent RMT strikes which affect Network Rail as well as individual train operators, the Aslef strike is more limited in scope. However, staff at 12 train operating companies will walk out, threatening to bring services to a halt across multiple networks. Timetable details for the strike date will be announced closer to the time.
The 12 companies affected by the Aslef strike are:
- Avanti West Coast
- Chiltern Railways
- East Midlands Railway
- Great Western Railway
- Greater Anglia
- London North Eastern Railway
- Northern Trains
- Transpennine Express
- West Midlands Trains
Why are train drivers striking?
The latest strike is part of an ongoing dispute between Aslef and the train operating companies over train drivers’ pay.
The union says that in the face of soaring inflation, drivers face a real-terms pay cut under existing offers from employers. It has accused the train companies of signing a “dodgy deal” with the Department for Transport that has left them unable to properly negotiate a deal with drivers.
Mr Whelan said: “We have come to the table, as we always will, in good faith but while the industry continues to make no offer – due to the dodgy deal they signed with the Department for Transport – we have no choice but to take strike action again.
“They want drivers to take a real terms pay cut. With inflation now well into double figures, train drivers who kept Britain moving through the pandemic are now being expected to work just as hard this year as last year but for less. Most of these drivers have not had an increase in salary since 2019. We want the companies – which are making huge profits – to make a proper pay offer so that our members can keep up with the cost of living.”
What have the train companies said?
A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “We are incredibly frustrated the Aslef leadership has decided to take further strike action. We regret Aslef’s decision, which will cause real disruption to passengers and hit its members’ pay packets.
“Instead of staging more counterproductive strike action which increases the very real financial challenge the industry is facing, we ask them to work with us to secure both a pay deal and the changes needed for it to thrive in the long term and improve reliability across the network.”
Will there be more train strikes?
Aslef has already confirmed that it is re-balloting members on further strike action, saying it is “in it for the long haul”. If drivers vote in favour of more strikes it gives the union a fresh six-month window in which to stage industrial action.
The RMT has also confirmed that it is re-balloting members on further action in its dispute with Network Rail and train operators. That ballot is due to close on 15 November and would give the union an mandate for more strikes as far into the future as May 2023.