Croydon tram drivers’ strike: When is it and why are they striking?

·2 min read
A Tramlink tram waits to leave a tram stop in George Street, Croydon (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)
A Tramlink tram waits to leave a tram stop in George Street, Croydon (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)

Tram services are facing severe disruptions this week, due to a strike from ASLEF (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen) union members over pay disputes.

Members of ASLEF employed by Croydon Tramlink will walk out on 28 June and 29 June, with TfL warning of “severe disruptions” on both days. Any trams that do run will be busier than usual.

Buses in Croydon, Wimbledon, Beckenham and Addington are also expected to be especially busy.

So, when are the strikes, and why are the drivers striking?

Why is the ASLEF striking?

Tram drivers who are employed by FirstGroup (which operates Tramlink) are going on strike due to the fact they’re being offered a 3% pay rise, while RPI inflation rates are over 11%, with ASLEF saying this equates to a wage cut.

Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s full-time organiser, said in a statement: “Our members do a difficult and demanding job, working round-the-clock shifts over 364 days of the year. They deserve a fair pay settlement.

“FirstGroup saw its profits soar last year. It boasts of returning £500 million to shareholders while holding workers’ wages down. And last year FirstGroup paid its chief executive Matthew Gregory £840,00 in pay and perks.

“Croydon Tram Operations Ltd is funded by Transport for London. But the company prefers to use the money it gets from TfL to funnel cash to shareholders, and wealthy executives, rather than pay its staff a fair wage.

“The Mayor of London and the board of TfL should be intervening to stop this abuse and make Tramlink treat its staff fairly.”

UK Train & Tube Strike | June 2022

What does TfL think about the strike action?

TfL, however, is unhappy with the decision to strike. Trish Ashton, TfL Director of Rail and Sponsored Services, said: “We are disappointed that ASLEF have decided to take industrial action on the tram network and urge them to meet with Tram Operations Ltd, the operator, to try and resolve this matter and avoid disruption to our customers.”

This week’s tram strikes come in the wake of London’s biggest rail strike in the last 30 years last week, with the threat of more strikes to come.

Tram services are expected to return to normal by the morning of June 30.

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