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Train strikes: Drivers to stage fresh walkouts in April amid long-running pay dispute

Simon Calder’s Travel

More travel chaos is on the way as train drivers at 16 rail companies are set to take part in a fresh wave of strikes in April.

Members of the Aslef union will stage one-day walkouts from 5–8 April, coinciding with a ban on overtime from 4–6 and 8–9 April.

The union said it wanted to increase the pressure on the “intransigent” train companies and the “tone-deaf” government following a series of strikes stretching back 20 months.

Train drivers have now not had a pay rise for five years, since April 2019, said Aslef.

Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, and CrossCountry will be affected first when action begins on 5 April, with 6 April targeting Chiltern, GWR, LNER, Northern, and TransPennine.

On 8 April, the strikes will affect c2c, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway’s main line and depot drivers, and SWR Island Line.

The 8 April strike coincides with a strike by train drivers on London Underground in a separate dispute over working terms and conditions.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “Last month, when we announced renewed mandates for industrial action, because under the Tories’ draconian anti-union laws we have to ballot our members every six months, we called on the train companies, and the government, to come to the table for meaningful talks to negotiate a new pay deal for train drivers who have not had an increase in salary since 2019.

“Our members voted overwhelmingly – yet again – for strike action.”

Mr Whelan added that the previous offer presented to its members is “dead in the water”, and that the union haven’t heard from officials, including the transport secretary, since new strike mandates were announced four weeks ago.

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “Nobody wins when industrial action impacts people’s lives and livelihoods, and we will work hard to minimise any disruption to our passengers.

“We want to resolve this dispute, but the Aslef leadership need to recognise that hard-pressed taxpayers are continuing to contribute an extra £54 million a week just to keep services running post covid. We continue to seek an agreement with the Aslef leadership and remain open to talks to find a solution to this dispute.”

The Independent has contacted the Department for Transport…

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