Train drivers are taking further industrial action this weekend in a dispute over pay and conditions that has disrupted services for more than a year.
Members of Aslef, the train drivers’ union, have planned two days of strikes and two overtime bans which are likely to affect services for the next seven days.
The union announced the action earlier this month.
Are trains running on Friday?
Trains will be running but services are likely to be severely disrupted tomorrow – Friday 29 September – as an overtime ban for Aslef members will be in force.
A second overtime ban will run from Monday 2 October to Friday 6 October.
And there will be a full walkout on Saturday 30 October and Wednesday 4 October.
In addition, separate planned industrial action by the RMT on Wednesday 4 October and Friday 6 October is expected to severely affect Tube services.
Aslef said the strikes will force the train operating companies to cancel all services, and the ban on working overtime will seriously disrupt the network, as the train companies have failed to employ enough drivers to provide a proper service without asking drivers to work their rest days.
The union claims rail firms are dependent on rest-day working, which is voluntary, to plug holes in rosters.
National Rail said that on the days of full strike action “this is likely to result in little or no services across large areas of the network”.
It warned that on the day immediately following a full strike day, services are likely to be disrupted and start later.
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail companies, said firms will operate as many trains as possible but there will be wide regional variations, with some operators running no services at all.
It is likely that evening services on some lines will be affected on the days before each strike.
Morning services may also be disrupted on Sunday 1 October and Thursday 5 October because much of the rolling stock will not be in the right depots.
Which rail companies will be affected?
Sixteen rail companies will be affected by the latest round of industrial action by Aslef:
- Avanti West Coast;
- Chiltern Railways;
- c2c; CrossCountry;
- East Midlands Railway;
- Greater Anglia;
- GTR Great Northern Thameslink;
- Great Western Railway;
- Island Line;
- Northern Trains;
- Gatwick Express;
- South Western Railway;
- TransPennine Express;
- West Midlands Trains.
Why is there more industrial action?
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.”
A spokesperson for Rail Delivery Group said: “We want to resolve this dispute and are acutely aware of the damaging impact it’s having on our passengers, our people and the long-term sustainability of the industry itself.
“We apologise to our customers for the unnecessary disruption to their journeys caused by the Aslef leadership.
“The offer to Aslef, which would take average driver salaries from £60,000 to £65,000 for a four-day week, remains on the table, and we are always open to constructive dialogue.
“However, at a time when the industry is losing £10m a day post-Covid, the union’s leadership must recognise the need to make changes to how the sector is run, to both fund any pay rise and, crucially, so we can give our passengers more reliable train services, particularly on Sundays.”
List of rail strikes in 2023
Action by the rail unions has been ongoing since summer 2022 and this year has seen a series of walkouts and overtime bans. Industrial action on the railways in 2023 so far:
- 3-4 January – strike by RMT
- 5 January – strike by Aslef
- 6-7 January – strike by RMT
- 12 January – strike by TSSA
- I February – strikes by RMT and Aslef
- 3 February – strikes by RMT and Aslef
- 12 May – strike by Aslef
- 13 May – strike by RMT and overtime ban by Aslef
- 15-20 May – overtime ban by Aslef
- 31 May – strike by Aslef
- 2 June – strike by RMT
- 3 June – stgrike by Aslef
- 17 -22 July – overtime ban by Aslef and strike by RMT
- 29 July – strike by RMT
- 31 July to 5 August – overtime ban by Aslef
- 7 August- 12 August – overtime ban by Aslef
- 26 August – strike by RMT
- 1 September – strike by Aslef
- 2 September – overtime ban by Aslef and strike by RMT
- 15-16 September – strike by RMT