Train drivers at eight rail companies are to stage a 24-hour Saturday strike later this month during the first weekend of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in pay disputes, threatening more disruption to services.
There's a packed schedule of events on the first Saturday of the Games at venues across the region, including the marathon, with thousands of people expected to line the city's streets to cheer the athletes on.
Drivers on Greater Anglia will also strike on July 23, and those on Hull Trains will strike on July 16 and 23.
The action is in addition to a planned strike by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at train companies and Network Rail on July 27 and by TSSA members on Avanti West Coast on the same day.
Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: "We don’t want to go on strike – strikes are the result of a failure of negotiation – and this union, since I was elected general secretary in 2011, has only ever been on strike, until this year, for a handful of days.
"We don’t want to inconvenience passengers, not least because our friends and families use public transport too, and we believe in building trust in the railways in Britain, and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike."
Mr Whelan adds: "But we’ve been forced into this position by the train companies, driven by the Tory Government. The drivers at the companies where we are striking have had a real-terms pay cut over the last three years, since April 2019.
"These companies are offering us nothing, saying their hands have been tied by the Government. That means, in real terms, with inflation running ahead at 9%, 10%, and even 11% this year, according to which index you use, that they are being told to take a real-terms pay cut, and that is not acceptable.
"Strike action is, now, the only option available but we are always open to talks if the train companies, or the Government, want to talk to us and make a fair and sensible offer."