Cost of living: Drivers at 12 rail companies target Tory conference as fresh strike dates revealed

Rail strikes to resume after train drivers' union serves notice of walkouts

Train drivers at 12 operators are to stage fresh strikes over pay that will coincide with the opening and conclusion of the Conservatives’ party conference.

The Aslef union said its members would walk out on Saturday 1st October and again on Wednesday 5th October.

The new dates were revealed after a strike planned for last week was called off as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen.

The services to be affected were listed as:

• Avanti West Coast
• Chiltern Railways
• CrossCountry
• Greater Anglia
• Great Western Railway
• Hull Trains
• LNER
• London Overground
• Northern Trains
• Southeastern
• TransPennine Express
• West Midlands Trains

The union warned it was in for the “long haul” – in line with other unions currently in dispute with employers on the rail network.

Members of the RMT and TSSA unions are yet to reach a resolution to their own grievances, which also include job security and working conditions.

Strikes have spread from the rail network this summer to cover a wide variety of activities from postal to dock workers.

Each union is battling to secure wage rises that will help its members combat the worst of the squeeze from the cost of living crisis.

The rate of inflation currently stands at 9.9% but is currently expected to return to double figures over the next few months as winter sets in despite government aid for household and business energy bills.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “We would much rather not be in this position. We don’t want to go on strike – withdrawing your labour, although a fundamental human right, is always a last resort for this trade union – but the train companies have been determined to force our hand.

“They are telling train drivers to take a real-terms pay cut. With inflation now running at 12.3% – and set, it is said, to go higher – these companies are saying that drivers should be prepared to work just as hard, for just as long, but for considerably less.

“The companies with whom we are in dispute have not offered us a penny. It is outrageous that they expect us to put up with a real-terms pay cut for a third year in a row.”

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