Train drivers at companies including West Midlands Railway vote for strike action

Members of the drivers’ union Aslef at eight train companies, including West Midlands Railway, have voted to launch campaigns of industrial action over pay.

The outcome could lead to walkouts over the summer, following strikes by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) last month which crippled services. Talks between the RMT and rail companies are set to resume this week.

The Aslef ballot results were among drivers at West Midland, Chiltern, GWR, LNER, London Overground, Northern, Southeastern and TransPennine.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association is also balloting its members at Network Rail and a number of train operators in England for industrial action.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: “Strike action is always the last resort for this trade union, but many of our members have not had a pay rise since 2019.

“We will fight to maintain the pay, terms and conditions, and the pensions of our members. The train companies are doing very well out of Britain’s railways – with handsome profits, dividends for shareholders, and big salaries for managers – and train drivers are not going to work longer for less.

“We’re not asking for a pay rise. We’re asking for our pay not to be cut for a third year in a row.

“We’ve accepted real-terms pay cuts for two or three years now, but whilst huge sums of money continue to slosh around our industry, we won’t accept another cut for another year.

“Wage increases aren’t the main cause of inflation. Excess profiteering is. Wages are chasing inflation, not causing it.

“Our members were proud to get fellow key workers and essential goods around the country during the pandemic.

“We’re proud to continue to serve passengers as they come back to our railway, but our hard-working rail workers will not accept real-terms pay cuts year after year.

“We’re happy to talk to anyone who can resolve this situation, but the Government is restricting what the operators can offer and then refusing to get involved in negotiation. They have no interest in finding a resolution.”

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