The train drivers’ union has not ruled out strike action continuing into the Christmas period. Mick Whelan, from the union Aslef, told the BBC he did not believe the government or industry wanted a resolution.
Whelan said there had been no contact from ministers since January, and none with the employers’ group since the spring.
He said the union was willing to talk, but “no-one’s interested, they don’t want a resolution”. Whelan also added that he thought the train companies - who are generally paid fixed fees to run services - had no incentive, and the government wanted to put rail into “managed decline”.
The next round of union train strikes, which begin this Friday will include walkouts on the same day as the Conservative Party’s annual conference.
In their long dispute over pay, train drivers’ union Aslef has confirmed members at 16 train operators will walk out on two days in the coming weeks — which will be around the Tory event in Manchester.
With trains to and from Manchester set to be impacted, Transport Secretary Mark Harper has called the strikes “cynical” and “politically motivated”.
“Train drivers are paid an average of £60k for a 35-hour, four-day week,” the Tory minister said. “There’s an offer on the table to take that up to £65k — and still they strike, putting their own jobs at risk.”
This is what the strikes will mean.
When are the next train strikes in the UK?
Aslef announced its members at 16 train operators will walk out this Friday — the day before the conference — and October 4, the final day of the event.
The union said the strikes will force train operators to cancel all services, causing travel chaos for passengers, including those travelling to and from the Conservative conference in Manchester, which is being held from October 1 to 4, the Standard has reported.
Aslef members will also ban overtime from September 29 to October 6, which the union said will “seriously disrupt” the rail network. This means that staff will not work for any longer than their contracted hours, which will likely see some cancellations and delays.
The networks set to be impacted are:
Avanti West Coast
East Midlands Railway
Greater Anglia (including Stansted Express)
Great Western Railway
London Northwestern Railway
South Western Railway (including Island Line)
West Midlands Railway
Why are the strikes being held?
Aslef said train drivers have not had a pay rise since 2019 and that, with inflation rocketing, it means in real terms they have lost money. It will be the 12th one-day strike by Aslef members since the dispute started more than a year ago.
Mick Whelan, Aslef 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 travel by train — the Government and employers have forced us into this position.
“Our members have not had a pay rise for four years — since 2019 — and that’s not right when prices have soared in that time.
“Train drivers quite reasonably want to be able to buy now what they could buy four years ago.”
How to check if your train is running
You can type the service you’re looking for into the National Rail website.
This website shows information on train services across the country. If you search for the journey you want to make, it will show you whether it is actually running and at what time.
If there are no services available around the time you want to travel, it will not display anything.