Commuter chaos begins: Four days of train strikes under way as £60,000-a-year drivers walk out at five rail operators

5 April 2024, 09:29

Commuter strikes are beginning
Commuter strikes are beginning. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Rail passengers across the country were hit by fresh strikes this morning as another walkout by train drivers got under way.

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Aslef members, who are paid an average of around £60,000 a year, will also strike tomorrow, affecting several rail operators.

This includes Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway, all of which ran no services this morning.

Commuters were told not to bother trying to travel as a ban on overtime also took effect at 16 companies until tomorrow.

It comes as part of a long-running dispute over pay and working conditions.

More strikes are taking place in the coming days
More strikes are taking place in the coming days. Picture: Getty
Waterloo station was brought to a standstill again (stock image)
Waterloo station was brought to a standstill again (stock image). Picture: Getty

The latest round of industrial action by train drivers is expected to cause economic damage to the hospitality industry, too.

UKHospitality has estimated that the latest action will cost the sector £387million, adding that strikes this year have lost the sector around £750million.

The dispute dates back to 2022 and there is currently no end in site after Aslef rejected an eight per cent pay rise spread across two years.

This would have taken the average salary of members up to around £65,000.

Read More: Tube strikes called off after talks between union and TfL

Read More: Schools could face teacher strikes in autumn term over pay, union leader warns

The strike will continue into tomorrow, with more operators to be affected, before pausing on Sunday.

There will be no services from Chiltern Railways, Great Western Railway, Northern, London North Eastern Railway (LNER), Heathrow Express and TransPennine Express on Saturday.

Meanwhile, on Monday, a strike will hit c2c, Gatwick Express, Greater Anglia, Southeastern, Great Northern, Southern, Stansted Express, South Western Railway and Thameslink

Another walkout will occur on April 20, when LNER drivers go on strike.

The strikes have been rumbling on for more than two years
The strikes have been rumbling on for more than two years. Picture: Getty

There has been relief for some commuters in London, however, with planned Tube strikes for April 8 and May 4 now not going ahead.

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.

"It's two years since P&O sacked its workforce in a disgusting and disgraceful action that the Government allowed. But train companies in this country are not going to change our terms and conditions on a whim."

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