Cross-border services impacted as train drivers begin industrial action

Three one-day strikes will take place this week, with Scotland to England services impacted on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Rail passengers face disruption on cross-border services this week, as train drivers begin industrial action.

Members of the ASLEF train drivers’ union will launch a six-day overtime ban at 16 operators from Monday, meaning services may be cancelled at short notice.

This will be followed by three, one-day strikes between May 7 and May 9, with cross-border services affected on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Passengers are being urged to check before they travel, with services that do run on strike days starting later and finishing earlier than usual.

No talks have been held between the union and train operators for more than a year, and for longer involving the government.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators, wrote to Aslef last week suggesting informal talks which could result in more formal negotiations.

A spokesman for the RDG said: “The rail industry is working hard to keep trains running but it is likely that services on some lines will be affected on the evening before and morning after each strike between May 7 and May 9 because many trains will not be in the right depots to start services the following day.

“We can only apologise to our customers for this wholly unnecessary strike action called by the Aslef leadership which will sadly disrupt journeys once again.

“It will also inflict further damage on an industry that is receiving up to an additional £54m a week in taxpayer cash to keep services running, following the Covid downturn.”

Train drivers will strike on the following days:

– Tuesday May 7: c2c, Greater Anglia, GTR’s Great Northern, Thameslink and Southern (including Gatwick Express), Southeastern, and South Western Railway.

– Wednesday May 8: Avanti West Coast, London Northwestern Railway, Chiltern, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, GWR, and West Midlands Trains.

– Thursday May 9: LNER, Northern, and TransPennine Express.

ASLEF said its members have not had a pay rise for five years and has accused the Government of “giving up” trying to resolve the dispute.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The transport secretary and rail minister have already facilitated a pay offer that would take train drivers’ average salaries up to £65,000 – almost twice the UK average salary.

“ASLEF are the only union left striking after the Government oversaw deals with all the other unions.

“Instead of causing passengers disruption, they should put this offer to their members and work with industry to end this dispute.”

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