Liciten wigh Flash

Rail strikes set to cause disruption for Welsh passengers

Train drivers are set to start an overtime ban on Thursday, leading up to a series of strikes that will cause disruption for passengers. Aslef members have been in a dispute over jobs for 20 months, with no signs of resolution or plans for talks.

Passengers are being told to check before they travel, as some areas will have no services on strike days. The overtime ban will run from Thursday to Saturday and for 48 hours from next Monday, likely causing delays and cancellations.

A strike on Friday will affect Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands and London Northwestern. On Saturday, train drivers will strike at Chiltern Railways, Great Western Railway, LNER, Heathrow Express, Northern and TransPennine Express. For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

Read more:Woman fined £1,000 because her dog barks so much

Read more: Man famous for photographs of the night sky dies suddenly aged 34

A strike on Monday will impact c2c, Gatwick Express, Greater Anglia (including Stansted Express), Great Northern, Southeastern, Southern, South Western Railway (including the Island Line) and Thameslink. Train operators have warned that on strike days, little or no services will run across large areas of the network operated by the affected train companies. Services are also likely to be disrupted and start later on the day immediately following a full strike day.

On days when staff don’t work overtime, some train companies may change their schedules or trains could be delayed or cancelled at short notice. People who travel by train should expect disruption and are being told to make plans early and check before they go.

A law is now in place aimed at ensuring a minimum level of service during rail strikes, but train companies in the disagreement have yet to use it. Mick Whelan, Aslef general secretary, said the union had called for talks after announcing renewed mandates for industrial action, highlighting that train drivers have not had an increase in salary since 2019.

He shared: “Our members voted overwhelmingly yet again for strike action. Those votes show a clear rejection by train drivers of the ridiculous offer put to us in April last year by the Rail Delivery Group which knew that offer would be rejected because a land grab for all the terms and conditions we have negotiated over the years would never be accepted by our members.

“Since then train drivers have voted, time and again, to take action in pursuit of a pay rise. That’s why Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, is being disingenuous when he says that offer should have been put to members. Drivers wouldn’t vote for industrial action, again and again and again, if they thought that was a good offer. That offer was dead in the water in April last year and Mr Harper knows that.

“We asked Mr Harper, or his deputy, the rail minister Huw Merriman, to come and meet us. We asked the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and the train operators (TOCs) to come and talk to us.

“We haven’t heard from Mr Harper, Mr Merriman, the RDG, or the TOCs since those new mandates were announced weeks ago. In fact, Mr Harper hasn’t deigned to talk to us since December 2022; Mr Merriman hasn’t talked to us since January 2023; and the RDG has not seen fit to join us in the room since April last year.”

“We have given the Government every opportunity to come to the table but it is now clear they do not want to resolve this dispute. They are happy for it go on and on. We are not going to give up. Many members have now not had a single penny increase in pay for half a decade, during which time inflation has soared and, with it, the cost of living.

“While we are doing all we can to keep trains running and we will work with our industry partners to keep as many trains running as possible, unfortunately there will be reduced services between Thursday April 4 to Tuesday April 9. Our advice is to check before you travel and follow the latest travel information. Minimum Service Level legislation is one of many useful tools for managing strike disruption, but it is not a silver bullet.

“Operators’ guiding principle is always to make sure they can offer the best, most reliable services possible for their passengers on and around industrial action days, and to do that they need to make careful assessments of their own particular operational circumstances before deciding the best way forward.”

Kathryn O’Brien, customer experience & transformation director at TransPennine Express, said: “Unfortunately, strike action will once again cause disruption to our services, as well as those across the country. Sadly, we won’t be able to run any trains at all on Saturday April 6, and some services will be affected this week by further industrial action.”

Aslef, the train drivers’ union, has organised 14 one-day strikes during the disagreement lasting 20 months. The first vote was sent out in June 2022 and members first went on strike on Saturday, July 30 2022.

Aslef members on London Underground also plan to strike on Monday April 8 and Saturday May 4 over terms and conditions, which will cause severe inconvenience across the Tube network and some lines will have little or no service. A spokesperson from the Department for Transport said: “Aslef is the only rail union continuing to strike, targeting passengers and preventing their own members from voting on the pay offer that remains on the table.”

“Having resolved disputes with all other rail unions, the Transport Secretary and rail minister have ensured that a pay offer is on the table taking train drivers’ average salaries from £60,000 up to £65,000.”

Scroll to Top