ASLEF announces first rail strikes of 2024 - What will it mean for Worcester? - The Worcester Observer

ASLEF announces first rail strikes of 2024 - What will it mean for Worcester?

Worcester Editorial 19th Jan, 2024   0

THE FIRST rail strikes of 2024 have been announced by ASLEF as the dispute between the train drivers’ union and service operators enters its third year.

ASLEF will stage a complete walk out across the West Midlands Railway network on Saturday, February 3, with an overlapping nine day overtime ban scheduled between Monday, January 29 and Tuesday, February 6.

In total, 14 railway operators will be affected. Massive disruption is expected, with the possibility of thousands of journeys delayed or cancelled.

During previous strike days we’ve seen services stopped altogether or in less severe cases, one service an hour has ran on particularly busy routes such as Birmingham’s Cross City Line between Lichfield and Redditch.

Passengers hoping to travel during the strike action are advised to check journey planners closer to the date of travel, as timetables are yet to be officially updated to reflect the impact on services.

ASLEF’s general secretary Mick Whelan said: “We have given the government every opportunity to come to the table but it has now been a year since we had any contact from the Department for Transport.

“It’s clear they do not want to resolve this dispute.

“Many of our members have now not had a single penny increase to their pay in half a decade, during which inflation soared and with it the cost of living.

“Train drivers didn’t even ask for an increase during the Covid-19 pandemic when they worked throughout as keyworkers, risking their lives to allow NHS and other workers to travel.

“The government has now tried their old trick of changing the rules when they can’t win and brought in Minimum Service Levels legislation.

“But this new law, as we told officials during the consultation period, won’t ease industrial strife. It will likely just make it worse.

“There’s no excuse. The government and train operating companies must come to the table with a realistic offer so we can end this dispute and work together to ensure the future of our railways.”

During the unions most recent 18 month dispute with operators they have staged 14 one-day strikes and eight overtime bans, spanning well over a month in total.

A week of strikes staggered between companies also took place from Saturday, December 2 to Saturday, December 9 (2023).

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