May 21, 2024

Train drivers’ union announces another ban on overtime, disrupting travel for three weeks in summer

Within hours of the latest ban on overtime for train drivers coming into force, the Aslef union has announced another week of industrial action from July 31 to August 5 – with its leader bemoaning the lack of contact from employers and minister.

The new refusal to work overtime will increase disruption to English rail and the London Underground to a total of 22 days over the peak summer period.

It affects more than a dozen train operators, including the major commuter and intercity firms in England. Transport for Wales and ScotRail are unaffected.

Aslef’s statement says: “The ban – which is the latest step in our long-running national pay dispute – will significantly affect services as none of the train companies employ enough drivers to deliver the services they have promised provide passengers, and the government. will run.”

The current overtime ban lasts all week, from Monday 17 July to Saturday 22 July. Hundreds of trains are being canceled every day.

On Thursday and Saturday, the disruption to rail passengers will increase significantly as the RMT union goes on strike again.

Thousands of trains will be canceled as operators including West Coast Avanti, Great Western Railway and LNER reduce to a skeleton service.

The effects will continue until Sunday 23 July, when RMT members working for the London Underground will begin strike action. It ends on Friday 28 July, the day before the next RMT national rail strike, which will affect services on Saturday 29 July and the following day, Sunday 30 July.

Aslef’s overtime ban then comes into force on Monday 31 August and cancellations are expected for the rest of that week, up to and including Saturday 5 August.

Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, was alarmed by the train operators and the ministers. He said: “The blame lies with the train companies, and the government behind them, who 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. .

“The proposal they made on Wednesday 26 April – of 4 per cent with a further increase was not dependent, in a bare ground grab, on drivers complying with the terms and conditions we are fighting for, and which we negotiated in respect for years – conceived to be there. accepted.

‘We haven’t heard a word from the employers since then – not a meeting, not a phone call, not a text message, not an email – for the past 12 weeks.

“We have not sat down with the government since Friday 6 January. That shows how little the companies and the government care about passengers and crew. They seem content to let this event go and move on.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport (DfT) said: “This government has played its part by facilitating fair and reasonable pay offers which will deliver generous increases for rail workers. Union leaders should stop preventing their members from having a vote on these offers and give them a chance to help resolve this dispute.”

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said: “Aslef leadership is constantly disrupting customers’ travel plans. They rejected a fair and affordable offer without passing it on to their members, which would have taken the average base wages of drivers for a 4-day week without overtime from £60,000 to almost £65,000 by the end of the 2023 pay awards.

“Train companies will work hard to minimize the impact of the overtime ban on 13 train operating companies between July 31 and August 5, which will affect the level of cancellations and the punctuality of some services.

“We call on Aslef to recognize the real financial challenge facing the industry and work with us to deliver a better and more reliable railway with a strong long-term future.”

Rail passengers using London Paddington during Monday morning faced widespread cancellations and delays after a vehicle hit a bridge at Hanwell, seven miles west of the Great Western Railway terminus.

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