UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Rail passengers are being alerted to potential disruptions over the next six days as train drivers in the Aslef union have initiated an overtime ban. This action will impact fifteen train companies operating in England from Monday to Saturday, marking the latest development in the ongoing pay dispute.
As a result, several companies will be reducing their service levels, prompting passengers to check for updates before embarking on their journeys. The Aslef union has expressed its dissatisfaction with the latest pay offer, likening it to a regression to Victorian times. This sentiment highlights the union’s belief that the proposed compensation fails to meet modern standards and expectations.
Furthermore, strikes by rail workers in the RMT union are scheduled to occur later this month, specifically on the 20th, 22nd, and 29th of July. These additional disruptions compound the challenges faced by rail passengers
Which Railway Lines Will Be Affected By The Strike?
This week, several disruptions are anticipated:
- South Western Railway has announced a reduced timetable, resulting in the cancellation of some first and last trains. As a result, their services are expected to be busier than usual. Passengers planning to attend the Wimbledon tennis championships are advised to allocate additional time for their journeys.
- Govia Thameslink will not be operating any Gatwick Express services.
- Northern is advising passengers to anticipate delayed start and early finish times for some services, as well as the possibility of last-minute cancellations.
- Great Western Railway anticipates the possibility of short-notice changes or cancellations and regrets to inform passengers that its Night Riviera Sleeper service will be suspended in both directions until Sunday.
- Meanwhile, Chiltern Railways advises customers to consider traveling only if absolutely necessary on Saturday. Please note that trains will not be making stops at the station near Wembley Stadium due to the hosting of a concert by Blur.
Train Drivers’ Demand For Increase In Pay Has Led To The Strike
The ongoing pay dispute among train drivers revolves around the refusal of union members to accept a consecutive two-year deal worth 4%, which would have increased their average pay to £65,000. Unfortunately, this offer has already been rejected by Aslef. They have been demanding for a rise in pay for a long time but have not been getting a positive response to date.
The acceptance of this deal would have been subject to modifications in working practices, which the employers and government, who have the authority to determine the topics discussed in negotiations, argue are necessary to reduce costs and modernize the railway’s operations.
The union asserts that its members, who have endured stagnant pay for four years, should not be compelled to compromise their working conditions in exchange for a wage increase that falls below the inflation rate.
In the preceding month, Aslef members from ten different operators expressed their support for additional strike actions, implying that the ongoing dispute could persist for an additional six months if a resolution is not reached.
Will The Train Drivers Plan For Further Strike Action?
At present, Aslef has no immediate plans for further strikes. However, they have hinted at the possibility of adding more dates in the near future. Meanwhile, workers affiliated with the RMT union, including train guards, are expected to stage a walkout later this month due to their ongoing disputes over pay, job security, and working conditions.
This protracted strike action has now endured for over a year, with no resolution in sight. Consequently, train companies are now gearing up to close hundreds of ticket offices.
According to the RDG, a mere 12% of tickets are currently being sold at station kiosks. In response, they have proposed relocating staff to concourses to enhance customer assistance and guidance. The RDG’s spokesperson emphasized that both employees and the public would be consulted before implementing any changes.
However, Mick Lynch, the General Secretary of RMT, firmly stated last week that his union would not passively accept the loss of numerous jobs or the exclusion of disabled and vulnerable passengers from utilizing the railways. In response to this pressing matter, the union has proposed the possibility of resorting to additional industrial action.