UK Train Drivers to Stage Strikes in May Amid Ongoing Pay Dispute

Train drivers in the UK to strike for 3 days in May over pay dispute, causing significant disruption to rail services across England. The strikes reflect an escalating conflict between the union and rail companies.

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Wojciech Zylm
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UK Train Drivers to Stage Strikes in May Amid Ongoing Pay Dispute

UK Train Drivers to Stage Strikes in May Amid Ongoing Pay Dispute

Train drivers from 16 UK rail companies will stage strikes on May 7-9, 2023 and ban overtime for six days from May 6 in an ongoing pay dispute, according to the union Aslef. The strikes are expected to cause significant disruption to rail services across England, with most operators not running any trains on the strike days.

Aslef says its members have not had a pay increase in five years since their last pay deals expired in 2019. The union has been trying to negotiate with the train operating companies for over a year, but claims the companies have made "risible offers" that were "designed to be rejected." Aslef rejected a recent offer of a two-year deal worth 4% annually, which they described as "dead in the water."

The strikes will affect services run by companies such as c2c, Greater Anglia, Avanti West Coast, South Western Railway, and others. Aslef's general secretary, Mick Whelan, stated that train drivers have "voted again and again" to take strike action and the union has been unable to reach a deal with the operators.

Why this matters: The strikes are part of a long-running pay dispute between Aslef and the rail companies that has been ongoing for nearly two years. The industrial action is likely to cause chaos for commuters and travelers across the UK during the busy May bank holiday week.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train operators, called the strike action "wholly unnecessary" and said it would disrupt customers and businesses while further damaging the railway. A spokesperson said the offered pay deal would take train drivers' salaries up to an average of £65,000, which is almost twice the average salary in the UK.

The Department for Transport also criticized Aslef's leadership for repeatedly calling for strike action. This latest wave of strikes marks the fourth week of rolling strikes staged by Aslef since December, reflecting an escalation in the ongoing pay dispute between the union and rail companies. Passengers are advised to check before they travel, as the strikes are likely to cause cancellations and delays across the rail network.

Key Takeaways

  • Train drivers from 16 UK rail companies to strike on May 7-9, 2023.
  • Strikes due to pay dispute, with drivers not receiving a raise since 2019.
  • Strikes expected to cause significant disruption to rail services across England.
  • Aslef union rejected a 4% annual pay deal, calling it "dead in the water".
  • Strikes mark the fourth week of rolling strikes staged by Aslef since December.