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Train strikes 2024: The latest round of industrial action is under way

Simon Calder’s Travel

The latest round of industrial action on the railways is under way.

Members of the train drivers’ union, Aslef, are refusing to work overtime at LNER and Northern on Thursday 29 February and Saturday 2 March. Northern has warned passengers to “expect disruption”. Dozens of LNER trains on the East Coast main line have been cancelled or curtailed “due to industrial action”.

On Friday 1 March train drivers will walk out at both train operators – cancelling all Northern trains and most LNER services.

These walk-outs are unconnected with the continuing pay and conditions dispute at the heart of the national rail strikes that began in the summer of 2022. Since then, hundreds of millions of journeys have been cancelled. Billions of pounds have been lost to the UK economy, particularly hospitality businesses – and taxpayers are subsidising an increasingly decrepit and unreliable railway to the tune of £90 per second on top of the normal subsidy.

Over the past 19 months of strikes, there has been zero progress in the dispute between Aslef and the 14 rail firms controlled by the UK government and represented by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

In a snap social media poll for The Independent, with 2,142 responses, one in three passengers say they will permanently travel less after the industrial action finally ends.

These are the key questions and answers.

Where are we with industrial action on the railways?

Many rail passengers may feel national strikes have been going on forever. In fact, the first national rail walkouts since the 1980s began in the summer of 2022. The train operators involved are the 14 English rail firms whose operations are controlled by the government

At the root of the disputes: the demand of the rail unions for a no-strings pay rise against ministers’ insistence that any increase must be funded from running trains more efficiently.

The larger rail union, the RMT, has ended its campaign of strikes for now. But Aslef, the smaller yet more powerful train drivers’ union, is as far from an agreement as ever with the

Since the dispute began, Aslef has called regular strikes and bans on rest-day working. The latest industrial action by train drivers, comprising an overtime ban and “rolling” regional walk-outs, hit for nine days from 29 January to 6 February.

The aim of these rolling strikes and the ban on…

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