Train drivers from the Aslef union will walk out on various days from 2 to 8 December. Instead of a nationwide strike, disruptions will occur throughout the week as drivers at different train operators in specific areas stop work.
Different parts of the country will be targeted each day, except for Monday 4 December, to create significant disruption.
During December 1st to 9th, there will be additional cancellations due to a nine-day overtime ban. Aslef is advocating for a salary increase without conditions, highlighting that train drivers have not received a raise for over four years.
The Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators in negotiations, is overseen by ministers who will approve any agreement. They require modernized working practices as a condition for a pay raise.
The union rejected a previous offer from the RMT in April without putting it to a vote.
Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, emphasized their determination to secure a substantial pay increase for train drivers who haven’t received a raise since 2019, despite the rising cost of living. He criticized Transport Secretary Mark Harper for being absent during the dispute. Whelan highlighted the resounding support from members for strike action as a clear rejection of the April offer from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which sought to overhaul their terms and conditions, knowing it wouldn’t be accepted.
Rail Strikes Since 2022
Since the summer of 2022, Aslef train drivers have engaged in 14 previous walkouts during the national strikes. The Rail Delivery Group expressed disappointment at the “wholly unnecessary” strike action, foreseeing disruptions for customers and businesses just before the crucial festive season. They reiterated their offer to raise average driver base salaries from £60,000 to nearly £65,000 for a four-day week, urging Aslef’s leadership to present it to their members, restore a smooth holiday season for passengers, and resolve the detrimental industrial dispute.
The Department for Transport expressed disappointment at Aslef’s choice to disrupt the public and hospitality businesses during the festive season. They highlighted taxpayers’ substantial contribution to safeguard train drivers’ jobs during the pandemic, suggesting that rather than striking, Aslef should emulate other rail unions by allowing their members to vote on the fair pay deal offered.
Rail Strike Schedule
Aslef’s planned strike pattern spans from December 2nd to 8th, targeting different train operators each day for maximum impact. On December 2nd, East Midlands Railway and LNER will be affected, followed by Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern, Thameslink, and West Midlands Trains on December 3rd. December 4th will have no strikes. Then, on December 5th, C2C and Greater Anglia services will be affected, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, and Southwestern Railway on December 6th, CrossCountry and GWR on December 7th, and finally, Northern and TransPennine Trains on December 8th.