Travellers face severe disruption as train driver strike begins

·2 min read
Travellers face severe disruption as train driver strike begins

Travellers across the country have been warned they will face severe disruption to their journeys due to a strike by train drivers on Saturday.

Members of the Aslef union across nine operators are staging a walkout over a pay dispute.

Due to this, large parts of the rail network will be brought to a standstill with disruption expected to run into Sunday.

The strike action will impact Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, Heathrow Express, Hull Trains, LNER, London Northwestern Railway, London Overground, Southeastern, Stansted Express, West Midlands Railway services.

TfL has said that there will be no service on the London Overgound during the day or night. Services are not expcted to reach a good level until midday on Sunday.

Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, said union members had been “forced” to take strike action due to the failure of negotiations with train companies.

“We don’t want to go on strike - strikes are always a last resort - but the companies, and the government, have forced our hand,” he said.

Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary (PA)
Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary (PA)

“The companies have said that they cannot, or will not, give our members an increase.

“They blame the government... while the government says it’s down to the train operators. So we are caught in a Catch-22 situation where each side blames the other.”

Steve Montgomery, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group, criticised Aslef leadership for imposing “yet more uncertainty” and said he had an “open invitation” for talks with them.

“The railway is too important to this country to allow decline,” he said, “but, with passenger numbers still 20% below pre-pandemic levels, securing a bright future means we have to adapt to attract more people back.”

He added: “We call on Aslef to come to the table, so we can fund the pay rise we want to give our people while delivering the improvements in Sunday services and greater punctuality our passengers deserve.”

Members of the RMT and TSSA unions will staged walkout across the rail network on August 18 and 20. A seperate strike will also take place on August 19 by Undergound and London bus drivers.