Train drivers are to stage a fresh strike early in the new year in action likely to affect cross-border services.
Members of the ASLEF union will join colleagues from the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union in walking out in early January, bringing lines to a halt across large parts of the country.
ASLEF staff will walk out on January 5, while RMT workers at Network Rail and 14 train operators are planning to strike on January 3, 4, 6 and 7.
It could mean active routes are slashed on many of those dates – similar to action earlier in 2022.
ASLEF said the action, which will affect Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Great Western Railway, London North Eastern Railway and TransPennine Express links between Scotland and England, was prompted by bosses’ “expectation that workers will take a real-terms pay cut”.
General secretary Mick Whelan said 93% of members back the action, adding: “We don’t want to go on strike but the companies have pushed us into this place.
“They have not offered our members at these companies a penny, and these are people who have not had an increase since April 2019.
“That means they expect train drivers at these companies to take a real-terms pay cut, to work just as hard for considerably less, when inflation is running at north of 14%.
“The train companies say their hands have been tied by the Government, while the Government, which does not employ us, says it’s up to the companies to negotiate with us.
“We are always happy to negotiate – we never refuse to sit down at the table and talk – but these companies have offered us nothing, and that is unacceptable.”
RMT members working for Network Rail will also strike from 6pm on Christmas Eve until 6am on December 27.
Train passengers planning Christmas Eve trips are being told to complete journeys as early as lunchtime due to industrial action.
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group said: “Further strikes – on top of those already announced by the RMT – will disrupt the new year travel plans of millions, taking even more money out of the pockets of railway staff.
“Industrial action has already cost the industry millions in lost revenue, and more strikes threaten the industry’s long-term sustainability.
“No-one wants to see this strike go ahead, and we can only apologise to passengers and to the many businesses who will be hit by this damaging disruption.
“We want to work with ASLEF to end this dispute that is harming passengers, the industry, and their members.”