Train drivers to strike on week of early May Bank Holiday, union Aslef announces

Train drivers at 16 rail companies will stage a series of fresh strikes next month in a long-running pay dispute, Aslef has announced.

The strike, running from Tuesday, May 7 until Thursday, May 9, is expected to cause chaos for commuters.

The dates follow the early May Bank Holiday on Monday, May 6.

It will see drivers who are members of Aslef walk out in a series of one-day strikes, couples with a six-day overtime ban running from May 6 to 11.

“The dispute is to get train drivers, who have not had an increase in salary for five years, since their last pay deals expired in 2019, the pay rise they deserve,” said Aslef as it announced the strike on Monday.

“The cost of living has increased significantly in the last five years.”

Union Aslef says that on May 7, members will walk out at c2c, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern, and Gatwick Express.

South Western Railway main line and depot drivers will also walk out, as will drivers on the SWR Island Line.

On May 8, drivers at Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway; and West Midlands Trains will walk out.

May 9 will then see drivers at LNER, Northern Trains, and TransPennine Trains take to the picket line.

Members will also refuse to work non-contractual overtime for five days from Monday, May 6 to Saturday, May 11.

The union said that after its members voted overwhelmingly in February to continue taking industrial action, it asked the train operating companies to hold talks.

General secretary Mick Whelan said: “It is now a year since we sat in a room with the train companies and a year since we rejected the risible offer they made and which they admitted, privately, was designed to be rejected.

“We first balloted for industrial action in June 2022, after three years without a pay rise. It took eight one-day strikes to persuade the train operating companies (Tocs) to come to the table and talk.

“Our negotiating team met the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) on eight occasions – the last being on Wednesday April 26 last year.

“That was followed by the Tocs’ ‘land grab’ for all our terms & conditions on Thursday April 27 – which was immediately rejected.

“Since then train drivers have voted, again and again, to take action to get a pay rise.

“That’s why Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, is being disingenuous when he says that offer should have been put to members. Drivers would not vote to strike if they thought an offer was acceptable.”

Mr Whelan said the year-old offer of a four per cent pay rise followed by a second four per cent increase was “dead in the water”.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “ASLEF’s leadership are acting like a broken record - calling for strike action time and time again while remaining the only rail union continuing to strike, as well as the only union refusing to put a fair and reasonable pay offer to its members for over a year.

"The Transport Secretary and Rail Minister have done their part to facilitate this pay offer, - one which would take train drivers’ salaries up to an average of £65,000 which is almost twice the average salary in the UK.

“ASLEF bosses should take the lead of the other rail unions, put this offer to their members and stop their campaign of contempt for passengers.”