Updated: Jan 23
Earlier this week ASLEF rejected the latest train company pay proposals and announced new strike dates on Wednesday 1 and Friday 3 February.
Mick Whelan, ASLEF General Secretary, said: “The proposal is not and could not ever be acceptable but we are willing to engage in further discussions within the process that we previously agreed.”
The companies affected include Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; London North Eastern Railway; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway (depot drivers only); SWR Island Line; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.
Whelan added: “It’s now clear to our members, and to the public, that this was never about reform or modernisation but an attempt to get hundreds of millions of pounds of productivity for a 20% pay cut while taking away any hope of the union having any say in the future. Irreparable harm has been done to the integrity of the negotiating process and the future ability to negotiate an appropriate way forward, but we make ourselves available anyway.
“Not only is the offer a real-terms pay cut, with inflation running north of 10%, but it came with so many conditions attached that it was clearly unacceptable. They want to rip up our terms and conditions in return for a real-terms pay cut! It was clearly a rushed offer, made just before our meeting with the minister, and not one, it seems to me, that was designed to be accepted. Our members at these companies have not had an increase since 2019, despite soaring inflation, and it is time the companies – encouraged, perhaps, by the government – sat down with us and got serious.
“That is the way – and the only way – to end this dispute.”
ASLEF members have also refused to take trains into sidings or depots without safety checks and will strike on the Bakerloo line on Saturday 4 February and Saturday 11 February unless management withdraws their plans around train safety checks.