UK rail chaos as train drivers strike despite £65,000 salary offer

Rail passengers face another day of chaos as train drivers walk out for the second time this week after turning down 8% pay rise offer that would take average salaries to almost £65,000

  • Train drivers’ bumper pay packets far exceed the UK average salary of £38,131 
  • Aslef union also took part in the huge day of industrial action on Wednesday

Rail passengers face further misery today after yet another strike by train drivers who rejected a pay hike that would have left them with average salaries of £65,000. 

Members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions – leaving large parts of the country with no services. 

Rail operators warned of severe disruption, with trains that do run due to start later and finish much earlier than usual – typically between 7.30am and 6.30pm. 

It is likely that Saturday morning services on some lines will be affected because rolling stock will not be in the right depots.

The rail industry said it was working hard to keep as many trains running and criticised the rejection of an offer which would give drivers an 8 per cent pay rise over two years, taking average salaries up from nearly £60,000 a year, to almost £65,000.

A traveler looks up at the departure board at Paddington Station in London on another day of rail strikes

Simon Weller, assistant general secretary of Aslef, said the dispute was going ‘backwards’ because of the lack of progress in months of talks.

Fewer than a third of teachers and just 12 per cent of civil servants went on strike


He said: ‘I don’t know whether to point the finger of blame at the ineptitude of the Department for Transport or the Rail Delivery Group.

‘We would struggle to recommend a deal of a 4 per cent pay rise for last year and 4 per cent this year if there were no conditions attached, but we are being asked to give up collective bargaining and effectively agree to a no-strike deal.

‘Obviously it was going to be rejected – it was designed to fail.’

Mr Weller said the attitude among Aslef members was ‘hardening’, but he believed the fault lay squarely with the DfT and train operators.

He claimed the latest offer would add a ‘significant’ number of contracted hours to a train driver.

On the issue of whether Sunday working should be compulsory, he said: ‘We have been willing to include Sundays in the working week, but companies find it cheaper to have drivers working overtime on Sundays.’

An ASLEF a picket line outside Victoria station which is closed to the public during strike action by the RMT and ASLEF Unions

Traffic queues on the A102M Blackwell Tunnel approach in Greenwich during today’s rail strike action

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group said: ‘Having made an initial offer which would have taken average driver salaries from £60,000 to nearly £65,000, we had hoped the Aslef leadership would engage constructively to move talks forward, rather than staging more unnecessary strikes. 

‘We can only apologise for the disruption.

‘To minimise the impact of the Aslef action, we advise passengers to check before they travel, allow extra time and find out when their first and last train will depart.’

It will be the second strike by train drivers this week, after they took part in the huge day of industrial action on Wednesday, which also involved teachers, university staff, civil servants, bus drivers and security guards.

Around 1,900 members of Unite working as bus drivers for Abellio in London will complete a three-day strike on Friday in a separate dispute over pay. 

How will today’s train strikes affect each rail operator? 

Britain’s train services are being hit by strike action again.

Train driver members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) unions are walking out in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Here is a breakdown of each operator’s plan for Friday:

– Avanti West Coast

No trains will operate.

– c2c

Services will be unaffected.

– Caledonian Sleeper

Services will be unaffected.

– Chiltern Railways

No trains will operate.

– CrossCountry

No trains will operate.

– East Midlands Railway

No trains will operate.

– Elizabeth line

Services will be unaffected.

– Gatwick Express

No trains will operate.

– Grand Central

Services will be unaffected.

– Great Northern

No trains will operate.

– Great Western Railway

An extremely limited service will operate, and only between 7.30am and 7.30pm.

The only routes served by trains will be: Between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads; between Bristol Temple Meads and Cardiff; between Reading and Basingstoke, Oxford and Redhill; between Swindon and Westbury; between Exeter St Davids and Exmouth and Paignton; between Plymouth and Gunnislake; and between Penzance and St Ives.

– Greater Anglia

A very limited service will operate with one train per hour in each direction between London Liverpool Street and each of Norwich, Colchester, Cambridge and Southend Victoria.

Services will start from 8am and finish earlier than usual.

No other routes will be served by trains.

– Heathrow Express

No trains will operate.

– Hull Trains

Services will be unaffected.

– London North Eastern Railway

An extremely limited timetable will operate.

It will run just five trains in each direction between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh, with a handful of other services.

– London Northwestern Railway

No trains will operate.

– London Overground

Services will be unaffected.

– Lumo

Services will be unaffected.

– Merseyrail

Services will be unaffected.

– Northern

No trains will operate.

– ScotRail

Services will be unaffected.

– South Western Railway

No trains will operate on the Isle of Wight.

South Western Railway intended to run a full service on the mainland but said it was ‘reviewing our plans’ after suffering disruption during a similar walkout on Wednesday when drivers not part of the strike refused to cross picket lines.

– Southeastern

No trains will operate.

– Southern

No trains will operate.

– Stansted Express

One train per hour will run in each direction between London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.

– Thameslink

No trains will operate.

– TransPennine Express

No trains will operate.

– Transport for Wales

Services will be unaffected.

West Midlands Railway

No trains will operate.

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