Train Disruptions Expected Across England as Train Drivers Stage Overtime Ban
Train drivers in England are set to stage a week-long ban on overtime in a dispute over pay, which is expected to cause further disruptions to rail services. Members of the train drivers’ union, Aslef, at 15 train companies across the country will refuse to work overtime from Monday to Saturday, and again from 7-12 August. The affected services include Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, Cross Country, East Midlands Railway, Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Island Line, LNER, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway main line, TransPennine Express, and West Midlands Trains.
This overtime ban follows strikes last week by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, which caused significant disruptions to services. Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan expressed regret over the need for this action, stating that the train companies and the government have forced them into this position by refusing to engage in meaningful negotiations and failing to offer a fair and reasonable pay increase. Train drivers have not received a pay increase since 2019, while prices have risen by more than 12% during that time.
According to Mr. Whelan, an offer made in April included a 4% pay increase, with further increases dependent on drivers giving up certain terms and conditions. However, there has been no communication from the employers since then, and no meetings or discussions have taken place with the government since January 6.
Train Strikes Cause Travel Disruptions During Summer Holidays
The ongoing disputes and strikes are expected to cause weeks of disruption for train passengers, particularly during the summer holidays. The lack of progress in negotiations has led to deadlocked talks and further strikes, exacerbating the travel misery for those planning to get away during this period.
Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, has accused the government of preventing a settlement by failing to address the concerns of train drivers. He criticized the lack of care shown by both the train companies and the government towards passengers and staff, stating that they are willing to let the situation continue without taking any meaningful action.
TransPennine Express Warns Customers of Disruption
TransPennine Express, one of the affected train companies, has issued a warning to its customers to prepare for significant disruption, including delays and short-notice cancellations. Kathryn O’Brien, the customer service and operations director, expressed disappointment over the impact this action will have on customers’ journeys. She advised customers to check carefully before traveling and allow extra time for their journeys.
The Department for Transport has stated that the government has met with the rail unions, listened to their concerns, and made improved offers on pay and reform. They are urging union leaders to present these fair and reasonable offers to their members in order to resolve the dispute.
Overall, the ongoing dispute over pay between train drivers and the train companies, supported by the government, is causing significant disruptions to rail services in England. Passengers are advised to stay updated on the latest information regarding delays and cancellations and to plan their journeys accordingly.