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December train strikes: Dates and services affected

Mick Whelan says Aslef is ‘determined to win this dispute and get a significant pay rise for train drivers’
Union general secretary Mick Whelan says Aslef is ‘determined to win this dispute and get a significant pay rise for train drivers’ - Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Commuters face another wave of strikes and rail disruption starting this week, as train drivers plan a run of walkouts and ban on overtime in the run-up to Christmas.

The disruption is the latest blow to travellers who have been hit with 18 months of disruption since unions began their pay dispute with the Government and train operating companies.

Here is everything you need to know about the next wave of industrial action:

When are the train strikes and which rail companies are affected?

Unlike previous strikes, different operators will walk out on different days across the country during the next wave of action.

The walkouts will be held on the following days:

Saturday December 2 – EMR and LNER

Sunday December 3 – Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern Thameslink and WMT

Tuesday December 5 – C2C and Greater Anglia

Wednesday December 6 – Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, the SWR main line and depot, and on the Island Line

Thursday December 7 – CrossCountry and GWR

Friday December 8 – Northern and TPT

Friday December 1 to Saturday December 9 – All Aslef members will refuse to work overtime from Friday, December 1 to Saturday, December 9.

I thought train strikes had been sorted. Why are there more?

Aslef has held 14 one-day strikes during the 18-month dispute, causing huge disruption to services across the country.

Strikes have also been held since June 2022 by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union. However, they have voted overwhelmingly to accept a deal to end their long-running dispute over pay and conditions, the union announced.

The deal will see the union suspend industrial action until at least April in exchange for a backdated pay offer which could see all members receive a lump sum of at least £1,750 before the Christmas break.

Advice for travelling during train strikes

National Rail has yet to give an update on the latest strikes but has previously warned passengers to expect “significant disruption” on strike days.

National Rail has recommended that passengers:

  • Use its Journey Planner. Passengers should check close to the time of each strike date

  • Use its Live Trains page for the most up-to-date information about arrivals and departures

  • Plan ahead and check before you travel. This includes checking your entire journey, especially if you’re travelling on the first and last trains of strike days

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Why are Aslef striking?

The Aslef union said the new walkouts will “ratchet up the pressure” on train companies and the Government to give train drivers their first pay rise in more than four years.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “We are determined to win this dispute and get a significant pay rise for train drivers who have not had an increase since 2019, while the cost of living, in that time, has soared.

“The Transport Secretary, who has gone missing in action during this dispute, says we should put the offer to our members.

“What the minister apparently fails to understand is that, since the Rail Delivery Group’s (RDG) risible offer in April, we have received overwhelming mandates, on enormous turnouts, for more industrial action.

“Our members have spoken and we know what they think. Every time they vote – and they have voted overwhelmingly – for strike action in pursuit of a proper pay rise it is a clear rejection of the offer that was made in April.

“The RDG’s offer – a land grab for all our terms and conditions – was made in the full knowledge that it couldn’t, and wouldn’t, be accepted.”

Aslef said it had successfully struck pay deals with 14 companies in the last 12 months, including freight firms, open-access operators, Eurostar, and passenger companies in Scotland and Wales where transport issues are devolved.

It added: “This is a dispute in England made at Westminster by the Tory Government.

“We gave the train operating companies (TOCs) a way out of this dispute which they chose not to accept because the Government interfered.

“We suggested a significant across-the-board increase for all drivers, at all the companies involved, to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

“Other matters, we said, could then be dealt with company by company because terms and conditions are different at each company.

“Uncoupling the carriages, as it were, would have given the TOCs and the Government a way out, and given us an opportunity to deal, at company council level, with any changes and productivity they want.

“Some TOCs have Sundays in the working week, some don’t. One size does not, cannot and will not, fit all.

“We will continue to take industrial action until the train companies – and/or the Government – sits down and negotiates with us in good faith.”