Posted 19th April 2024 | No Comments

LNER drivers set to strike, while RMT rejects pay offer

Updated 11.34

belonging to ASLEF are set to strike for 24 hours tomorrow, reducing East Coast intercity services by an estimated 75 per cent. No LNER trains will be running north of Edinburgh.

The union is also staging a ban on overtime and rest day working from today until Sunday. The walkout is unconnected with ASLEF’s pay dispute with English operators, and has been caused by what the union described as LNER’s ‘persistent failure to comply with existing agreements’.

ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: ‘Train drivers are fed up with the bad faith shown by this company, probably at the behest of the transport secretary Mark Harper and the rail minister, Huw Merriman, and we are not prepared to put up with being bullied and pushed about by a company that thinks it can break agreements whenever it feels like it.

‘We honour the agreements we make, because we are honourable people. Train companies should do the same.’

Nigel Roebuck, ASLEF’S full-time organiser in the north-east of England, and lead officer for LNER, added: ‘Huw Merriman has been encouraging this company to try to enforce Minimum Service Legislation on the sly – because he has, belatedly, realised that MSLs don’t work, he has been leaning on the company to persuade every driver manager and driver instructor to work on strike days; effectively to provide a minimum service level without invoking the legislation.’

LNER responded: ‘Our priority focus remains on minimising disruption to customers. We continue to encourage ASLEF to work with us to find a way to end this long running dispute.’

Meanwhile, the RMT has rejected a pay offer for its Network Rail members, which would be worth 3.5 per cent.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Network Rail is once again making an offer that represents a cut in living standards as pay is not keeping up with the rising costs of rent, mortgages, energy, food and other essentials. As a result, RMT is calling for urgent fresh negotiations and a much-improved offer for this year.’

Network Rail said it had put forward an unconditional offer with other benefits that was “fair and represents a significant increase, given current and forecast rates of inflation”’