ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has rejected a ‘risible’ pay offer from the 16 train companies with whom they are in dispute – drivers not having had an increase in salary at these companies since 2019. The new train strike dates are Friday 12th May, Wednesday 31st May, and Saturday 3rd June – meaning Manchester United and City fans may find it even more difficult to get down to Wembley for the FA Cup final.
The 16 train operating companies include Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; London North Eastern Railway; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway depot drivers; SWR Island Line; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.
Although the RMT union (Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) voted to accept the latest offer of increased pay from Network Rail last month, ASLEF has rejected a 4% pay rise, saying the offer is “clearly not designed to be accepted as inflation is still running north of 10% and our members at these companies have not had an increase for four years.”
ASLEF general secretary Mick Wheelan said: “The RDG, in turn, rejected our proposals to modernise Britain’s railways and help them run more efficiently, for passengers and for businesses, in the 21st century.
“Consequently, we have today announced three more days of strike action – on Friday 12 May, Wednesday 31 May, and Saturday 3 June – at the companies with which we are in dispute, and which are letting down passengers, and taxpayers, so badly.
“We are also withdrawing non-contractual overtime from Monday 15 to Saturday 20 May inclusive, as well as on Saturday 13 May and Thursday 1 June.
“We do not want to go on strike – we do not want to inconvenience passengers, we have families and friends who use the railway, too, and we believe in investing in rail for the future of this country – but the blame for this action lies, fairly and squarely, at the feet of the employers who have forced our hand over this by their intransigence.”
This is obviously of no consolation for Manchester football fans hoping to make the journey to London for the FA Cup final on 3rd June, but shows us how important this form of public transport is. As always, fans should check before they travel, and look at alternative ways of getting there such as coach or car share.