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Rail strikes: Train drivers announce fresh round of walkouts

Rail strikes: Train drivers announce fresh round of walkouts

Train drivers belonging to the Aslef union have announced two further strike dates.

Members at 15 train companies will walk out for 24 hours on Wednesday 1 and Friday 3 February.

The Aslef union said it had rejected the latest pay offer from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), claiming it “is not and could not ever be acceptable”, but added it was “willing to engage in further discussions”.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), representing train operators, had made an offer of 4 per cent for both 2022 and this year, contingent on modernisation.

The employers described the offer as “a landmark outline proposal that would deliver more reliable services for passengers”.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: “It’s now clear to our members, and the public, that this was never about reform or modernisation but an attempt to get hundreds of millions of pounds of productivity for a 20 per cent pay cut while taking away any hope of the union having any say in the future.

“It is time the companies – encouraged, perhaps, by the government – sat down with us and got serious.

“That is the way – and the only way – to end this dispute.”

Last week, Mr Whelan told the Transport Select Committee: “We’re further away than when we started.”

He told MPs: “I cannot recommend any one element of it and it may destroy the ability to go back to those talks in future.

“There is not one line in that deal, from the opening comments to the final full stop, that I can recommend because the deal basically says we basically rip up every agreement we have, local and national, forever and a day.”

He said reaching a settlement would require a “clean pay offer” without strings attached.

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “It’s disappointing our fair and affordable offer, which would take average driver base salaries from £60,000 to nearly £65,000 by the end of 2023 pay awards, wasn’t put to the Aslef members.

“With taxpayers still funding up to an extra £175 million a month to make up the shortfall in revenue post-covid, it provided a significant salary uplift while bringing in long overdue, common-sense reforms that would mean more reliable services for passengers.

“Rather than announcing further unnecessary strikes, we ask Aslef to recognise the very real financial challenge the industry is facing and…

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