British trade union Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) for train drivers, or ASLEF, has implemented a ban on overtime work that is set to cause disruption to rail journeys across the country this week.
The ban, which was announced last month, is set to last from Monday 3 July until the end of day on Saturday 8 July and will affect 16 train operators of the nation’s 35.
Many train operators rely on non-contractual overtime, known as rest-day working, to run their timetables, and its withdrawal can be hugely disruptive.
As a result of the ban, drivers will be staging industrial action, as part of a long-running pay dispute between rail bodies and the UK government over pay and working conditions.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: “Once again we find ourselves with no alternative but to take this action. We have continually come to the negotiating table in good faith, seeking to resolve the dispute.
“…We don’t want to inconvenience the public. We just want to see our members paid fairly during a cost of living crisis when inflation is running at above 10%, and to not see our terms and conditions taken away. It’s time for the government and the companies to think again and look for a resolution.”
In an interview with Sky News this morning [3 July 2023], Whelan added: “If we have to whistle in the wind for five years, 10 years, 20 years to get somebody to the table, this will be resolved at some point and somebody will talk to us properly at some point.”
In addition to action from ASLEF, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has announced three days of strike action, which will affect 14 train operators during July. The affected dates are: Thursday 20 July, Saturday 22 July and Saturday 29 July.
Train companies that have indicated they do not expect to operate a full timetable include: Chiltern Railways; Gatwick Express; Greater Anglia; Great Western Railway; Great Northern; Southern; South Western Railway (including Island Line); Thameslink; and TransPennine Express.
Operators that expect to run a full timetable, with some short-term cancellations expected, include: Avanti West Coast; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; LNER; London Northwestern Railway; Northern; Southeastern; and West Midlands Railway.
Passengers have been advised to consult the National Rail website before travelling and for any new information.
The action is expected to impact Wimbledon, with the tennis tournament beginning today and lasting until 16 July.