No finish in sight to rail strikes says practice drivers’ union boss

No end in sight to rail strikes says train drivers’ union boss

As the most recent rail shutdown throughout England begins, the boss of the practice drivers’ union has warned: “That is going to go on till the federal government give us an answer.”

Aslef, and the bigger RMT rail union, are concerned in parallel disputes on pay, jobs and dealing preparations with the practice working corporations (TOCs) which can be contracted by the federal government to run providers.

The Aslef basic secretary, Mick Whelan, instructed The Impartial: “It is a political dispute attributable to the federal government. If it had been an industrial dispute left solely to the employers and the unions, I believe it will have been resolved by now.

“We don’t have an issue in Scotland; we don’t have an issue in Wales; we don’t have an issue with freight; we don’t have an issue with open entry or with all the opposite practice operators we take care of. We’ve carried out 14 pay offers within the final 12 months.

“However within the government-controlled TOCs they’ve carried out, as we all know, a fairly weird contractual factor – the place the employers that we’ve labored with for two-and-a-half a long time have agreed with the federal government to not give us a pay rise, whereas they’re making lots of of hundreds of thousands of kilos and paying dividends to their shareholders.”

As we speak marks the twelfth strike day by members of Aslef since nationwide rail walk-outs started in the summertime of 2022. On Saturday, practice drivers will withdraw non-contractual extra time concurrently as much as 20,000 members of the RMT will cease work of their newest nationwide strike.

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A spokesperson for the Rail Supply Group (RDG), representing practice operators, mentioned: “Additional strike motion by the Aslef management is pointless and can trigger extra disruption to passengers seeking to take pleasure in varied sporting occasions and the tip of the summer time holidays.

“The union management has its head within the sand and refuses to place our honest and cheap provide to their members. The provide would enhance the typical driver base wage for a four-day week with out extra time from £60,000 to just about £65,000 by the tip of 2023.

“We wish to give our workers a pay enhance, nevertheless it has all the time been linked to implementing vital, smart reforms that might improve providers for our clients.

“We urge the Aslef management to acknowledge the substantial monetary challenges going through the rail trade and work with us to realize a extra reliable and sturdy railway system for the long run.”

However Mr Whelan described the modifications as “principally a land seize for phrases and circumstances proper throughout the board for a 20 per cent pay minimize.”

He mentioned: “That isn’t going to occur. That is going to go on till the federal government give us an answer.

“There’s an assumption amongst the general public that the fares have gone as much as pay our wages. We haven’t had a pay rise for 5 years.

“Whereas the members need us to go on strike to struggle for his or her futures and their future circumstances, we’ll proceed to take action.”

Most practice operators hit by the strike have cancelled all trains on Friday. A couple of practice operators – notably Higher Anglia, GWR, LNER and Southern – are operating a skeleton service throughout restricted hours, primarily on hyperlinks to and from London.

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Learn full particulars of which trains are operating over the 2 rail strike days

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