Strikes trains Scotland: Rolling one-day strikes announced for December on LNER, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry

The strikes involving LNER, Avanti West Coast and CrossCountry are set to impact on services running to and from Scotland

Train drivers are to stage a series of one-day strikes and a nine-day ban on overtime next month in their long-running dispute over pay.

The Aslef union said the new walkouts would "ratchet up the pressure" on train companies and the Government to give train drivers their first pay rise in more than four years.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Union members will walk out at LNER and EMR on December 2; at Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern Thameslink, and WMT on December 3; at C2C and Greater Anglia on December 5; at Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, the SWR main line and depot, and on the Island Line on December 6; at CrossCountry and GWR on December 7; and at Northern and TPT on December 8.

An Azuma rail LNER train at Kings Cross Station. The week-long overtime ban for train drivers will impact on services in Scotland. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA WireAn Azuma rail LNER train at Kings Cross Station. The week-long overtime ban for train drivers will impact on services in Scotland. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
An Azuma rail LNER train at Kings Cross Station. The week-long overtime ban for train drivers will impact on services in Scotland. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

All Aslef members will refuse to work any overtime from Friday, December 1 to Saturday, December 9.

Aslef said it had previously called all its members out on strike on the same day, but by spreading the action, the ramifications for the rail industry would be "greater".

"We are determined to win this dispute and get a significant pay rise for train drivers who have not had an increase since 2019, while the cost of living, in that time, has soared," Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said.

"The transport secretary, who has gone missing in action during this dispute, says we should put the offer to our members. What the minister apparently fails to understand is that, since the Rail Delivery Group's [RDG] risible offer in April, we have received overwhelming mandates, on enormous turnouts, for more industrial action.

"Our members have spoken and we know what they think. Every time they vote - and they have voted overwhelmingly – for strike action in pursuit of a proper pay rise it is a clear rejection of the offer that was made in April.

"The RDG's offer – a land grab for all our terms and conditions – was made in the full knowledge that it couldn't – and wouldn't – be accepted."

Aslef said it had successfully struck pay deals with 14 companies in the past 12 months, including freight firms, open-access operators, Eurostar, and passenger companies in Scotland and Wales where transport issues are devolved.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We have been unable to do a deal with the 16 train operating companies (TOCs) in England controlled by the Government,” the union said. "This is a dispute in England made at Westminster by the Tory Government. We gave the TOCs a way out of this dispute which they chose not to accept because the Government interfered.

"We suggested a significant across-the-board increase for all drivers, at all the companies involved, to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

"Other matters, we said, could then be dealt with company by company because terms and conditions are different at each company.”

The union added: "We will continue to take industrial action until the train companies – and/or the Government – sits down and negotiates with us in good faith."

Aslef has held 14 one-day strikes during the 18-month dispute, causing huge disruption to services across the country.

Strikes have also been held since June last year by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, who are now voting on a deal aimed at resolving their dispute.

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: "This wholly unnecessary strike action called by the Aslef leadership will sadly disrupt customers and businesses ahead of the vital festive period, while further damaging the railway at a time when it is still getting an extra is £175 million a month in taxpayer cash.

"The fair and affordable offer made by industry, which would take average driver base salaries for a four-day week from £60,000 to nearly £65,000, remains on the table.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We urge the Aslef leadership to put it to its members, give Christmas back to our passengers, and end this damaging industrial dispute."

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "It is disappointing that Aslef are targeting the public and hospitality businesses at the beginning of the festive period when there is a fair and reasonable pay offer for train drivers on the table that would take their salary up to an average of £65,000 for a 35-hour, four-day week.

"Taxpayers contributed £1,000 per household to protect train drivers' jobs during the pandemic. Instead of going on strike, Aslef should be following in the footsteps of the other rail unions and giving their members a vote on this fair pay deal."



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.