Train operators start six-day overtime ban on Bank Holiday Monday ahead of strike

Train operators began a six-day overtime ban on Bank Holiday Monday which is expected to cause short-notice cancellations.

It comes a day before train drivers at 16 companies stage fresh strike action which is set to cause widespread disruption for commuters returning to work after the long weekend.

Commuters are set to face a week of travel disruption - from May 6 to May 11 - as a result of both the strike and overtime ban.

The strike by Aslef members will last from Tuesday May 7 to May 9 as part of a long-running dispute over pay.

Meanwhile parts of the Circle and District Lines and DLR are closed on Monday.

“Train operators will have an overtime ban from today, Monday 6 May to Saturday 11 May which may alter the timetable of trains that will be running,” National Rail said.

Passengers are being urged to check before they travel, with services that do run on strike days starting later and finishing earlier than usual.

No talks have been held between the union and train operators for more than a year, and for longer involving the government.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators, wrote to Aslef last week suggesting informal talks which could result in more formal negotiations.

A spokesman for the RDG said: “The rail industry is working hard to keep trains running but it is likely that services on some lines will be affected on the evening before and morning after each strike between May 7 and May 9 because many trains will not be in the right depots to start services the following day.

“We can only apologise to our customers for this wholly unnecessary strike action called by the Aslef leadership which will sadly disrupt journeys once again.

“It will also inflict further damage on an industry that is receiving up to an additional £54 million a week in taxpayer cash to keep services running, following the Covid downturn.”

Train drivers will strike on the following days:

Tuesday May 7: c2c, Greater Anglia, GTR’s Great Northern, Thameslink and Southern (including Gatwick Express), Southeastern, and South Western Railway.

Wednesday May 8: Avanti West Coast, London Northwestern Railway, Chiltern, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, GWR, and West Midlands Trains.

Thursday May 9: LNER, Northern, and TransPennine Express.

Aslef said its members have not had a pay rise for five years and has accused the Government of “giving up” trying to resolve the dispute.

Meanwhile, the Circle Line is closed between Edgware Road and Tower Hill (via Victoria) on Monday.

On the District Line there is no service between Hammersmith, Wimbledon, Kensington (Olympia) and Edgware Road or Embankment. Replacement buses are operatinng between Hammersmith and Wimbledon.On the DLR there is no service between Westferry, Poplar and Lewisham.

Engineers on the Croydon Tramlink are striking from 8pm on Sunday to 6am on Thursday in a separate pay dispute.

Unite said its members are paid up to £10,000 a year less than similarly qualified workers on London Underground.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is outrageous that Transport for London somehow thinks it is acceptable to be systemically underpaying highly skilled workers who are essential to keep the tram system functioning.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The Transport Secretary and Rail Minister have already facilitated a pay offer that would take train drivers’ average salaries up to £65,000 – almost twice the UK average salary.

“Aslef are the only union left striking after the Government oversaw deals with all the other unions.

“Instead of causing passengers disruption, they should put this offer to their members and work with industry to end this dispute.”