Train strikes: When and where are the next walkouts?

Train strikes: When and where are the next walkouts?
Woman looks at train departures boardGetty Images

Rail users in England are facing more disruption next week as members of the train drivers’ union Aslef take part in another series of strikes.

The walkouts are the latest in a long-running row over pay and working conditions.

Which train routes are affected and when?

Aslef says there will be stoppages between Tuesday 30 January and Monday 5 February, affecting different operators on different days.

Union members will also refuse to work overtime from Monday 29 January until Tuesday 6 February.

The strikes will affect the following companies based in England – some of which run services into Scotland and Wales – although ScotRail and Transport for Wales are not included in the dispute:

  • Tuesday 30 January: Southeastern, Southern, Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Thameslink, South Western Railway and SWR Island Line
  • Wednesday 31 January: Northern Trains, Transpennine Express
  • Friday 2 February: Greater Anglia, C2C, LNER
  • Saturday 3 February: West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway
  • Monday 5 February: Great Western, CrossCountry, Chiltern

There will be no strike action on Thursday 1 February or Sunday 4 February.

Further strikes that had been called by LNER in February have been called off.

Are there any rail strikes planned by other unions?

Industrial action by Aslef and the RMT union has resulted in huge disruption on the country’s railways over the past couple of years.

In November last year, RMT members voted to accept a pay offer, which means they will no longer be involved in industrial action until at least the spring.

However, talks with the RMT over future pay deals and working practices will continue.

Unions in disputes need to reballot members every six months to see if they want to continue with industrial action.

Can I get my money back for strike days?

Rail passengers with advance tickets can be refunded fee-free if the train they are booked on is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.  

If passengers have a return ticket they may also be entitled to a fee-free refund if any part of the journey is cancelled due to strikes.

Season ticket holders (flexi, monthly or longer) who cannot travel, can claim 100% compensation for strike dates through the Delay Repay scheme.

What is the strike about?

Aslef is seeking better pay for its members, but the train operators say ways of working need to change for wages to rise, because of the financial challenge facing the industry and in fairness to taxpayers.

However, Aslef says drivers are being asked to sacrifice working conditions in exchange for a below-inflation wage increase.

In April 2023, Aslef’s executive committee rejected 4% pay rises for two years in a row, on condition that they would accept industry-wide changes to driver training, and negotiate changes to work patterns at individual operators.

There have been no formal talks since.

The government controls how much money is on the table and has the final say over what is offered. Ministers and industry negotiators have continue to urge the union to give members a vote on the latest offer.

How much are rail workers paid?

The average salary of rail workers in 2022 was £45,919, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

If drivers are excluded (because they tend to be members of the Aslef union, not RMT) its estimate is £39,518. However, the RMT union said that figure was too high because it does not include rail cleaning staff.

The ONS says median pay for “train and tram drivers” is just under £59,000.

How much notice do unions have to give before going on strike?

Unions are obliged to give at least 14 days’ notice of any strike action.

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Will you be affected by the strikes? Get in touch by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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Source: bbc.co.uk

By David Ryckman