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Practice drivers announce eight extra strike and journey disruption days

Practice drivers have introduced two extra strikes as a part of a long-running dispute over pay and situations.

The Aslef union stated its members at 16 prepare corporations would stroll out on 30 September and 4 October.

It added an time beyond regulation ban for drivers would happen on 29 September and for 5 days from 2 to six October.

The commercial motion additionally coincides with the Conservative Get together convention, which shall be held in Manchester from 1 to 4 October.

Providers are anticipated to be cancelled and trigger disruption on the strike and time beyond regulation ban days.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper described the newest strikes as “cynical” and “politically motivated”.

Each the prepare drivers’ union Aslef and the RMT, which represents different rail staff, have been locked in a row with prepare corporations over pay and dealing situations, resulting in common strikes up to now 18 months.

Progress within the dispute with union bosses has floor to a halt because the newest proposals put ahead within the spring by prepare operators had been rejected.

The supply put ahead included a sequence of modifications to working practices which might allow pay rises of 4% for one 12 months and 4% the subsequent.

Mick Whelan, basic secretary, stated whereas the union regretted placing once more, “the federal government, and the employers, have compelled us into this place”.

He stated the union’s members had not had a pay rise since 2019 which was “not proper when costs have soared in that point”.

“Practice drivers, completely fairly, need to have the ability to purchase now what they might purchase 4 years in the past,” he added.

In 2021, the median wage for prepare drivers was £59,189 per 12 months.

The 16 corporations affected by the newest strike motion are Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, c2c, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Better Anglia, GTR Nice Northern Thameslink, Nice Western Railway, Island Line, LNER, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Categorical, South Western Railway, TransPennine Categorical, and West Midlands Trains.

The Rail Supply Group, which represents prepare corporations, stated it wished to present employees pay rises, however stated a deal was linked to “implementing vital, wise reforms that may improve companies for our passengers”.

“The union have rejected a good and inexpensive supply with out placing it to their members,” a spokesperson stated.

“We ask the Aslef management and government to recognise the very actual monetary problem the trade is dealing with and work with us to ship a extra dependable and sturdy railway for the long run.”

Aslef’s Mr Whelan in contrast Transport Secretary Mr Harper to “The place’s Wally?”, claiming he had not made contact with the union since December final 12 months.

“The place’s Mark Harper? He holds the purse strings. The prepare corporations have advised us. They are saying they can not act with out his say-so.”

He referred to as on Mr Harper to “come to the negotiating desk” to finish the dispute.

In a submit on X, previously generally known as Twitter, Mr Harper stated the strikes prepare drivers had been “paid a median of £60k for a 35-hour, 4 day week”.

“There’s a suggestion on the desk to take that as much as £65k – and nonetheless they strike, placing their very own jobs in danger,” he added.

The Division for Transport stated the federal government had “facilitated honest and cheap presents to each RMT and Aslef”.

“Additional strike motion is not going to solely put a pressure on taxpayers, however danger driving passengers away from the community for good. These strikes is not going to stop the necessity for important office reforms,” a spokesperson stated.