London Overground train drivers vote to strike

Members of the train drivers’ union, Aslef at eight of the train operating companies — including the London Overground — have voted to go on strike. This latest strike is on top of last month’s strike action by the RMT which affected much of the National Rail network in the largest train strike in 30 years.

Aslef says that its members have not had a pay rise since 2019, but are asking for a pay rise that will at least match the current level of inflation for this year. The ballot was around 9-1 in favour of strike action, with turnouts across the train companies in excess of 80% voting in the ballot.

The dates haven’t been announced yet, and we will get at least 2-weeks notice of when they will take place.

“With inflation running at north of 10% that means those drivers have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years. We want an increase in line with the cost of living – we want to be able to buy, in 2022, what we could buy in 2021.” said Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef.

Although the date for the strikes is not yet known, there is a high chance that it could occur in the run-up to or during the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which has invested heavily in promoting travelling to the games by rail to reduce car use.

The eight companies that can expect to be affected by the forthcoming strike action are:

  • Chiltern Railways
  • Great Western Railways (GWR)
  • LNER
  • London Overground (Arriva Rail London)
  • Northern Trains
  • Southeastern
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midland Trains

The strike, if it goes ahead, would see around 6,000 train drivers going on strike, out of the 21,000 Aslef members who participated in the ballot. Aslef is also balloting train drivers at Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, and Direct Rail Services, and the results of that are expected in a couple of weeks time.

The RMT and another rail union, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) are also balloting for more strike action this summer.

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