British train drivers set to continue pay strike

British train drivers set to continue pay strike

Members of the Aslef trade union representing train drivers rejected a new pay offer
Members of the Aslef trade union representing train drivers rejected a new pay offer. Photo: Daniel LEAL / AFP
Source: AFP

Train drivers belonging to Britain's Aslef union on Friday voted to continue strike action for the next six months in a long-running dispute over pay that has caused chaos on the country's rail network.

The union said its members had not had a pay rise for nearly five years and were "in this for the long haul".

A fresh round of strikes begin from Saturday, disrupting services across England.

"The cost of living has soared since the spring and summer of 2019, when these pay deals ran out," Mick Whelan, Aslef's general secretary, said.

"Aslef members, key workers who kept our country moving through the pandemic, are simply asking for a fair and decent deal."

Aslef's decision to continue striking comes after rail workers with the RMT union voted on Thursday in favour of a pay deal to end more than a year of walkouts.

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Members had spoken "in huge numbers" that the final deal justified the long-running industrial action, the union said.

Transport minister Mark Harper called the agreement "welcome news for passengers and a significant step towards resolving industrial disputes on the railway".

He urged Aslef to "follow the RMT's lead and give their members a say".

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said Aslef was choosing to cause more misery for passengers and the hospitality sector this festive period.

"Aslef is now not just the only rail union still striking but the only union not to even put an offer to its members," he said, calling the government proposal "fair and reasonable".

Repeated strikes by rail staff have caused widespread cancellation of services and misery for travellers in Britain.

The industrial action has been mirrored across the public and private sectors as workers demand pay rises in response to decades-high inflation and the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation.

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Those who have taken to picket lines over the last 18 months have ranged from health sector employees and teachers to lawyers and dock workers.

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Source: AFP

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