Aslef announces fresh overtime ban for train drivers in pay dispute


A fresh overtime ban has been announced by train drivers, threatening disruption to services at the height of the summer holidays.

Credit: PA Media/Jacob King

Members of Aslef at 15 train operating companies will refuse to work overtime from Monday July 31 to Saturday August 5 in the long-running dispute over pay.

Drivers launched a week-long overtime ban on Monday which the union warned will “seriously” affect services.

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Aslef said train companies did not employ enough drivers, which was why they are dependent on rest day working, which the union pointed out was voluntary.

The action will affect Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; Cross Country; East Midlands Railway; Greater Anglia; Great Western Railway; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; Island Line; LNER; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway main line; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.

It will be the fourth week-long ban on overtime since May.

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Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, said: “We don’t want to take this action. We don’t want people to be inconvenienced, but the blame lies with the train companies, and the Government which stands behind them, which refuse to sit down and talk to us, and have not made a fair and sensible pay offer to train drivers who have not had one for four years – since 2019 – while prices have soared in that time by more than 12%.

“The proposal they made on April 26 of 4% with a further rise dependent, in a naked land grab, on drivers giving up terms and conditions for which we have fought, and negotiated, for years was not designed to be accepted.

“We have not heard a word from the employers since then – not a meeting, not a phone call, not a text message, nor an email – for the last 12 weeks, and we haven’t sat down with the Government since January 6.

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“That shows how little the companies and the Government care about passengers and staff. They appear content to let this drift on and on.

“In contrast, we want a fair resolution. That’s why we are taking this action, to try to bring things to a head.

“Then I can concentrate on my day job working with others in the industry to rebuild Britain’s railways for passengers, for business, and for this country.”

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A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “Aslef’s leadership continues to disrupt customers’ travel plans. They rejected a fair and affordable offer, without putting it to their members, which would take average driver base salaries for a four-day week without overtime from £60,000 to nearly £65,000 by the end of 2023 pay awards.

“Train companies will work hard to minimise the impact of the overtime ban overtime ban at 13 train operating companies between July 31 and August 5 that will affect the level of cancellations and the punctuality of some services. Customers are advised to plan their journey in advance and check before they travel.

“We ask Aslef to recognise the very real financial challenge the industry is facing and work with us to deliver a better, more reliable railway with a strong long-term future.”

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