Friday, March 31, 2023
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ASLEF Train Drivers in Sussex have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action

Drivers who work for GTR railway which runs the brands Southern, Gatwick Express, Great Northern and Thameslink rail. Have voted to take strike action. 

Ballot results for Southern/Gatwick Express Were 

  • Yes: 780 [84.6%]
  • No: 142 [15.4%]
  • Turnout: 83.6%

Ballot results for GTR Great Northern/Thameslink

  • Yes: 896 [90.8%]
  • No: 91 [9.2%]
  • Turnout: 87.1%

The union had to ballot members again in other TOCS as a mandate, under the law, is only valid for six months.

‘This shows just how angry – and determined – our members are,’ said Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, which represents 96% of the train drivers in England, Scotland, and Wales. ‘The turnouts were huge and the mandates are overwhelming.’

‘The resolve of our members is rock steady. A 93% “Yes” vote – up on the very high figure last time – on an average turnout, across the 12 companies, of 85% shows that our members are in this for the long haul

‘Now we don’t want to go on strike. We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – our friends and families use the railway, too, and we believe in investing in rail for the future of our country – and drivers don’t want to lose a day’s pay. Strikes are always a last resort.

‘But the intransigent attitude of the train companies – with the government acting, with malice, in the shadows – has forced our hand.

‘Because these drivers – who were, don’t forget, the people who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic – have not had a pay rise for nearly four years – since April 2019.

‘With inflation running in excess of 14% the companies and the government are saying that they want us to take a real terms pay cut.

‘That’s why we are calling on the companies to come to the table with a proper proposal to help our members, their drivers, buy this year what they could buy last year. That is the way to prevent another strike and all the disruption that causes. The ball is now firmly in the train companies’ court.

‘And we are calling on the government to help – not hinder – the negotiating process.’

The companies affected include Avanti West Coast; CrossCountry; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; London North Eastern Railway; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway (depot drivers only); SWR Island Line; and West Midlands Trains.

The drivers at these companies have not had an increase since 2019 which means that the TOCs are expecting members to work just as hard – with inflation running at just over 14% – for considerably less. And that amounts to a real-terms pay cut.

They have  already called five one-day strikes this year – drivers withdrew their labour on Saturday 30 July; Saturday 13 August; Saturday 1 October, Wednesday 5 October; and Saturday 26 November.

A successfully negotiated pay deals with 11 train companies this year – DB Cargo; Eurostar; Freightliner Heavy Haul; Freightliner Intermodal; GB Railfreight; Grand Central; Merseyrail; MTR Elizabeth line; Nexus; PRE Metro Operations; and ScotRail – and are in dispute only with those companies which have failed to offer their drivers – our members – anything. And these are drivers who have not have an increase since 2019.

In addition, an offer from Arriva Rail London (London Overground) has been put to members with a recommendation to accept.

We have balloted for industrial action at those companies which, so far, have not been prepared to offer drivers an increase to keep pace with the rise in the cost of living.

Results of ballots of members at Greater Anglia, Arriva Rail London, Great Western Railway, London North Eastern Railway, Southeastern, West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Southern, Thameslink Great Northern, Island Line and South Western Railway (Depot Drivers only).

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