Train drivers at eight rail companies vote to strike amid pay dispute

ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie explains when the industrial action could take place and what the dispute is about

Train drivers have voted overwhelmingly to strike over pay, increasing the threat of huge disruption to rail services this summer.

Aslef union members from eight train companies backed campaigns of industrial action.

Members at Chiltern, LNER, Northern, TransPennine Express, Arriva Rail London, Great Western, Southeastern and West Midlands Trains voted by around 9-1 in favour of strikes on turnouts of more than 80%.

The upcoming walkouts follow strikes by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), which crippled services last month.

Talks between the RMT and rail companies are set to resume this week.

Before the results were released, Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: “Strike action is always the last resort for this trade union, but 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.

"The train companies are doing very well out of Britain’s railways – with handsome profits, dividends for shareholders, and big salaries for managers – and train drivers are not going to work longer for less."

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A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “It is very disappointing that, rather than commit to serious dialogue with the industry, Aslef are first seeking to cause further misery to passengers by joining others in disrupting the rail network.

“The train drivers they represent earn, on average, just under £60,000 per year – more than twice the UK median salary and significantly more than the very workers who will be most impacted by these strikes.

“Our railway is in desperate need of modernisation to make it work better for passengers and be financially sustainable for the long term. We urge the union bosses to reconsider and work with its employers, not against them, to agree a new way forward.”

Meanwhile, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association announced that hundreds of its members at Southeastern have voted for strikes and other forms of industrial action over pay, job security and conditions. The union is not naming dates for any industrial action today, but will now consider the next steps with workplace reps.

It also said thousands of its members at Network Rail have voted for strike action and other forms of industrial action. More than 6,000 rail workers in a wide range of operational roles – including engineering, maintenance, supervisory, support, and control roles, voted in favour of both strike action and action short of strikes. Managerial staff in the top bands of the company also voted in favour of both strike action and action short of strike. However, the strike action vote missed out on the required legal threshold by less than 2%, so while managers can take action short of strike, they cannot take strike action.