ASLEF Rejects Proposal and Announces New Strike Dates
ASLEF has rejected a proposal – that was not the result of negotiation, despite this trade union making itself available more often than the other side for talks – made by the cartel [put in place on behalf of a government which has been shown to be interfering in the talks] representing some of the train operating companies in Britain, and announced new strike dates on Wednesday 1 and Friday 3 February.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: ‘The proposal is not and could not ever be acceptable but we are willing to engage in further discussions within the process that we previously agreed.’
The companies affected include Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; London North Eastern Railway; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway (depot drivers only); SWR Island Line; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.
It took the train companies six and a half months – and only after six one-day strikes – to make us an offer, at the end of play on Friday 6 January just ahead of our meeting with the Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, at 9.30am on Monday 9 January and the appearance of Mick Whelan before the Transport Select Committee on Wednesday 11 January.
‘It’s now clear to our members, and to the public, that this was never about reform or modernisation but an attempt to get hundreds of millions of pounds of productivity for a 20% pay cut while taking away any hope of the union having any say in the future. Irreparable harm has been done to the integrity of the negotiating process and the future ability to negotiate an appropriate way forward, but we make ourselves available anyway.
‘Not only is the offer a real-terms pay cut, with inflation running north of 10%, but it came with so many conditions attached that it was clearly unacceptable. They want to rip up our terms and conditions in return for a real-terms pay cut! It was clearly a rushed offer, made just before our meeting with the minister, and not one, it seems to me, that was designed to be accepted. Our members at these companies have not had an increase since 2019, despite soaring inflation, and it is time the companies – encouraged, perhaps, by the government – sat down with us and got serious.
‘That is the way – and the only way – to end this dispute.’
Notes to editors:
 We have already called six one-day strikes – drivers withdrew their labour on Saturday 30 July; Saturday 13 August; Saturday 1 October, Wednesday 5 October; Saturday 26 November; and Thursday 5 January.
 We have successfully negotiated pay deals with 12 train companies in the last twelve months – DB Cargo; Eurostar; Freightliner Heavy Haul; Freightliner Intermodal; GB Railfreight; Grand Central; Hull Trains; Merseyrail; MTR Elizabeth Line; Nexus; PRE Metro Operations; ScotRail; and Transport for Wales – and are in dispute only with those companies which have failed to offer their drivers – our members – anything. Drivers who have not have an increase since April 2019.
In addition, an offer from Arriva Rail London (London Overground) has been put to members with a recommendation to accept.
For further information please contact:
020 7324 2407 | 07977 498794