Rail strikes are set to continue into the autumn, with workers across 16 train companies set to walk out later this month.
The ASLEF union says that members will walk out on 30 September and 4 October in a dispute over working conditions and pay.
There will also be an overtime ban for drivers on 29 September, and then from 2 October until 6 October.
Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, said:
“While we regret having to take this action – we don’t want to lose a day’s pay, or disrupt passengers, as they try to travel by train – the government, and the employers, have forced us into this position. Our members have not, now, had a pay rise for four years – since 2019 – and that’s not right when prices have soared in that time. Train drivers, perfectly reasonably, want to be able to buy now what they could buy four years ago.”
Responding to the planned strike action, transport secretary Mark Harper tweeted:
“ASLEF’s cynical strikes on 30 Sept and 4 Oct are politically motivated. Train drivers are paid an average of £60k for a 35-hour, 4 day week. There’s an offer on the table to take that up to £65k – and still they strike, putting their own jobs at risk.”
The strike action coincides with the Conservative party conference, which is being held in Manchester from 1-4 October
“We last saw the Secretary of State for Transport in December. We last saw Huw Merriman, the Rail Minister, in January. And we last saw the train companies in April. Since then, nothing. Nada. Zilch. Not a letter, not an email, not a text message, not a phone call, not a WhatsApp. Not a word!
“Where’s Mark Harper? He holds the purse strings. The train companies have told us. They say they cannot act without his say-so.”
He also called on Harper to “come to the negotiating table” and provide “an end to this dispute”.
The 16 companies affected are:
- Avanti West Coast
- Chiltern Railways
- East Midlands Railway
- Greater Anglia
- GTR Great Northern Thameslink
- Great Western Railway
- Island Line
- Northern Trains
- Southern/Gatwick Express
- South Western Railway
- TransPennine Express
- West Midlands Trains