ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has announced a day of strike action after train companies failed to make a pay offer to keep pace with the increase in the cost of living.
ASLEF members at eight companies – Arriva Rail London; Chiltern Railways; Greater Anglia; Great Western; Hull Trains; LNER; Southeastern; and West Midlands Trains – will strike on Saturday 30 July.
Mick Whelan, general secretary, said: ‘We don’t want to go on strike – strikes are the result of a failure of negotiation – and this union, since I was elected GS in 2011, has only ever been on strike, until this year, for a handful of days.
‘But we’ve been forced into this position by the train companies, driven by the Tory government. The drivers at the companies where we are striking have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years – since April 2019.
‘And these companies are offering us nothing, saying their hands have been tied by the government. That means, in real terms, with inflation running ahead at 9%, 10%, and even 11% this year, according to which index you use, that they are being told to take a real terms pay cut. And that is not acceptable.
‘Strike action is, now, the only option available but we are always open to talks if the train companies, or the government, want to talk to us and make a fair and sensible offer.’
Mick said: ‘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 – for those members – who were, you will remember, the people who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic – who have not had a pay rise since 2019.
‘It’s not unreasonable to ask your employer to make sure you’re not worse off for a third successive year. 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.’
To show your support, join a picket line. Details of ASLEF picket lines are here.