Train drivers at eight rail companies vote to strike as more travel chaos looms

·3-min read
Passengers during a busier period at Waterloo station (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)
Passengers during a busier period at Waterloo station (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

Train drivers at eight rail companies have voted to strike in a dispute over pay, their union Aslef announced on Monday.

London Overground, LNER, Southeastern and Great Western are among the companies affected by the industrial action. Dates for the industrial action have yet to be decided.

The move increases the threat of huge disruption to rail services this summer, and is another body blow for London commuters and businesses hit with severe disruption when a series of national strikes were held in June.

The new industrial action could have even more impact than during last month’s strikes by 40,000 RMT workers, according to reports.

The strike will halt services at the following train companies: Chiltern, GWR, LNER, London Overground, Northern, Southeastern, TransPennine and West Midlands.

The Aslef members voted by around 9-1 in favour of strikes on turnouts of more than 80%.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: "Strikes are always the last resort. We don't want to inconvenience passengers - our friends and families use public transport, too - and we don't want to lose money by going on strike but we've been forced into this position by the companies driven by the Government.

"Many of our members - who were the men and women who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic - have not had a pay rise since 2019.

"With inflation running at north of 10% that means those drivers have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years.

"We want an increase in line with the cost of living - we want to be able to buy, in 2022, what we could buy in 2021.

"It's not unreasonable to ask your employer to make sure you're not worse off for three years in a row.

"Especially as the train companies are doing very nicely, thank you, out of Britain's railways, with handsome profits, dividends for shareholders, and big salaries for managers."

Meanwhile hundreds of TSSA members at Southeastern have voted for industrial action.

The dispute with the train operator is over pay, job security and conditions.

TSSA is not naming dates for any action yet and is consulting with trade union representatives.

General Secretary of the union Manuel Cortes said: “Well done to all our members at Southeastern who took part in these ballots. This is a great result for our union and comes hard on the heels of similar votes at a raft of other train operating companies, with results expected from our Network Rail members imminently.

“The results demonstrate that our members are utterly determined to fight for their pay, jobs and conditions. They are right to do so amid the escalating Tory cost of living crisis and with a chaotic government hell bent on making swingeing cuts to our rail network while inflation rages.

“It would be unwise for any rail company to ignore the feelings of our membership. We will soon speak to our workplace Reps to consider next steps in the forthcoming days.

“If Ministers had any sense they would come to the table and sort this out, so we have a fair settlement for workers who were hailed as heroes in the pandemic.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting