Passengers travelling between Glasgow and London by train are facing major disruption due to a strike by Aslef members over pay. The union, which represents train drivers, said its members have not received a pay rise for four years and are demanding a fair and sensible offer from the train companies.
Strike affects Avanti West Coast and LNER trains
The strike, which started at midnight on Thursday, affects Avanti West Coast and LNER trains, which operate cross-border services between Scotland and England. Aslef said the strike will force the train companies to cancel all services and a ban on overtime will “seriously disrupt” the network on Friday.
Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “We don’t want to take this action but the train companies, and the government which stands behind them, have forced us into this place because they refuse to sit down and talk to us and have not made a fair and sensible pay offer to train drivers who have not had one for four years – since 2019 – while prices have soared in that time by more than 12%.”
He added: “The government appears happy to let passengers – and businesses – suffer in the mistaken belief that they can bully us into submission. They don’t care about passengers, or Britain’s railway, but they will not break us.”
Passengers advised to check before they travel
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train companies, advised passengers that due to the Aslef strike there will be reduced services across the rail network on Thursday and Friday. It said passengers travelling during that period are advised to plan ahead and check before they travel.
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: “We are sorry for the disruption that passengers will face due to the Aslef strike. Train companies are doing all they can to keep passengers moving, but those travelling during that period are advised to plan ahead and check before they travel.”
The spokesperson added: “We recognise the hard work of rail staff during the pandemic and we remain committed to finding a fair and sustainable solution to the pay dispute.”
RMT union also strikes over pay, jobs and conditions
The Aslef strike coincides with a strike by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), which is also in a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions. The RMT union, which represents station staff, train managers, and catering staff, is striking on Thursday and September 2.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “RMT members are standing firm again today in the fight for pay justice on Britain’s railways. The anger and frustration of our members is reflected in the rock-solid support for this action as they send out the clearest possible message to the employers and the government that they will not be forced into accepting a pay freeze while the train companies are sitting on billions of pounds of taxpayer cash.”
He added: “RMT is demanding that the government lift the lid on the billions of pounds of Covid bail out money handed over to the private train companies and give us a clear and detailed breakdown of how that money has been spent and where it has ended up.”