Train drivers have voted to join other rail workers in striking over a series of dates in June and July, with a union claiming many have not had a pay rise since 2019.
Members of train drivers union the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef) were balloted for industrial action at several rail operating companies, which has resulted in strikes being scheduled at Greater Anglia, Hull Trains and Croydon Tramlink.
Drivers at Greater Anglia will strike on 23 June, and drivers at Hull Trains on 26 June. Tram drivers on the Croydon Tramlink will strike on 28-29 June and 13-14 July.
Rail users face misery later this month, as members of the RMT union also plan to stage a national strike on 21, 23 and 25 June. Around 40,000 staff from Network Rail and 13 train operating companies will join the RMT strike.
Aslef organiser Finn Brennan, who represents Croydon Tramlink drivers, said: “More than six months after the end of our last pay settlement and with the RPI rate of inflation running at over 11%, there has still been no offer from the company to resolve this dispute. Every day our members are seeing the price of their necessities, from fuel to food go up, while the real value of wages has fallen dramatically.
“Tram drivers, like other workers in public transport do a difficult and demanding job with round the clock shifts seven days a week. They deserve fair pay and are determined to fight for it.”
Some 99.2% of Croydon Tramlink drivers voted to strike, on an 86% turnout.
General secretary Mick Whelan said Department for Transport figures showing that passenger numbers have reached 90% of pre-Covid levels “blows the argument that ‘there is no money’ [for pay rises] right out of the water”.
He added: “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.
“We are not naïve. The train companies are doing very well out of Britain’s railways – with handsome profits, dividends for shareholders, and big salaries for managers – and we are not going to work longer, for less. We want a pay rise, for train drivers, who kept people and goods moving during the pandemic, in line with the cost of living, so that we are not, in real terms, worse off.”
A Hull Trains spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with the ballot result from Aslef for potential industrial action, at a time when we are re-establishing ourselves, having had to suspend our services on three separate occasions during the pandemic.
“Hull Trains has historically had a good relationship with Aslef, and we remain committed to meaningful talks with their leadership, with the aim of resolving the dispute for the benefit of customers, employees, and our business.”
A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “Aslef has announced strike action by its members working for Greater Anglia on Thursday 23 June, the same date as one of the three strike days called by the RMT union (21, 23 and 25 June).
“Our teams are working together with colleagues at Network Rail to see what Greater Anglia services might be able to run on all the days affected by strike action. However, there is likely to be significant disruption right across our network and any services that are able to operate are likely to be much reduced and running only for limited hours.”
Personnel Today has also contacted Transport for London, which owns the Croydon Tramlink.
Aslef balloted members at Arriva Rail London; Chiltern; Croydon Tramlink; Greater Anglia; Great Western; Hull Trains; LNER; Northern Trains; ScotRail; Southeastern; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.
It said it had successfully concluded pay negotiations with DB Cargo; Eurostar; Freightliner Heavy Haul; Freightliner Intermodal; GB Railfreight; Merseyrail; MTR Elizabeth line; and PRE Metro Operations.