Posted 31st August 2023 | 1 Comment

Operators in England prepare for 24-hour shutdown

Nearly all train services in England are likely to be cancelled tomorrow, as the drivers’ union ASLEF stages a 24-hour strike.

Most English operators are affected, with the exceptions of Merseyrail, Transport for London and Tyne & Wear Metro.

Neither ScotRail nor Transport for Wales are in dispute with ASLEF, but cross-border services from England will also be disrupted.

Tomorrow’s walkout will be followed by an RMT strike on Saturday, but limited services are expected to run some lines, although ASLEF will also be staging an overtime ban on Saturday which could mean that drivers are not available for some shifts.

The RMT has made a bid to end the walkouts. Almost a week ago, the union’s general secretary Mick Lynch told the Rail Delivery Group: ’I believe that both parties are of the view that we need to navigate a way through the dispute.’

The Rail Delivery Group has yet to publish a response to this letter, but when the latest strikes were announced the RDG said: ‘The industry will be working hard to keep as many services running as possible. There is no question the strikes called by the RMT and ASLEF leaderships are deliberately designed to target passengers who want to enjoy various sporting events and festivals during the bank holiday and at the end of the summer holidays, disrupting their plans, hurting local economies and forcing more cars on to the road.

‘This, despite the RMT having repeatedly refused their memberships a vote on offers of up to 13 per cent for the lowest paid over two years, which could easily settle this dispute.’

Meanwhile, Network Rail has told its staff who joined strikes since June 2022 that they will not be receiving annual bonuses this year, which are expected to be around £300.

NR said: ‘Our position was made very clear – any discretionary payments would focus on those who continued to support rail services during industrial action.’

Mick Lynch has responded that Network Rail’s decision was ‘a transparent attempt to divide the workforce’, and an online petition has been set up which calls for all Network Rail staff to be paid the bonus.

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  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    One has to wonder why Mick is so afraid of putting the last offer to his membership.