2023 FAIR PAY STRIKES






THURSDAY 5th JANUARY

SOUTHERN & THAMESLINK 

A.S.L.E.&F. MEMBERS STRIKE IN 15 T.O.C.s



UNKNOWN COLLECTION

Brighton Branch Afternoon Picket Line



Following the ballot result for strike action on the 7th December, 2022. A.S.L.E.&F. members belonging to GTR Southern Railway, Gatwick Express & Thameslink join the industrial action. This action had previously started six months earlier by the A.S.L.E.&F. members in 13 other train operating companies across the country, demanding a cost of living pay rise, after not having a pay rise since 2019.




UNKNOWN COLLECTION

Brighton Branch Afternoon Picket Line




Paul Eden Collection

THREE BRIDGES BRANCH




Paul Eden Collection

THREE BRIDGES BRANCH




On Friday 6th January, the Rail Delivery Group made an offer to Aslef containing a 8 page document which contains the following a two year pay rise in exchange for new working practices:

A pay rise of 4% for 2023, and 4% 2024. 

effective live redundancies beyond March 2024, 

all agreements/processes/policies rescinded and employers given agreement to accept ‘workplace reforms’, 

driver and route training to be more virtual and not done to any designated timescales, 

management to have full control of rostering/diagramming and depot establishments/ recruitment,

Driver Train Managers to cover driver shortages, 

4 year PQA Driver rates, 

split shifts/flexible working, 

new attendance management policies, 

new technology introduced without any consultation/negotiation, 

more punitive sick pay arrangements 

all local/Company agreements rescinded, 

and a review of ill-health severance, re-deployment, etc.

On Tuesday 17th January, A.S.L.E.&F. announce a further two strike on Wednesday 1st & Friday 3rd February. 

On Thursday 27th February, A.S.L.E.&F. met with the rail minister where there was a full frank discussion in which the rail industry made their recent proposal on the 6th January, which was formally rejected.






UNKNOWN COLLECTION

Horsham morning picket line




UNKNOWN COLLECTION

Horsham afternoon  picket line




WALK OUT WEDNESDAY

BRIGHTON BRANCH 

WEDNESDAY 1st FEBRUARY 2023


On Wednesday 1st February, striking Brighton A.S.L.E.&F. members joined thousands of  fellow Trade Unions members, along with supporting members of public with a rally and a  demonstration which included marching through the centre of Brighton. 

These demonstration and rallies took place most major towns and cities across the country.


PAUL OVERINGTON COLLECTION




PAUL OVERINGTON COLLECTION



DUNCAN WRIGHT COLLECTION

BARNHAM PICKET MORNING LINE 
03.02.23




DUNCAN WRIGHT COLLECTION

BARNHAM PICKET 
03.02.23




STUART BOAKES COLLECTION
HORSHAM PICKET LINE 03.02.23




STUART BOAKES COLLECTION
HORSHAM PICKET LINE 03.02.23




SEAN ROBERTS COLLECTION
BRIGHTON PICKET LINE 03.02.23




TRAIN DRIVERS SHOW “ROCK SLID” 
RESOLVE IN THE FIGHT FOR THEIR LIVELIHOODS 
by Mick Whelan, ASLEF 17th February 2023

ASLEF, the trade union which represents 96% of the train drivers in England, Scotland, and Wales, has been in dispute with 15 train operating companies – and the government which stands behind them – for the last eight months.

Why? Because they have failed to offer their drivers – our members – a salary increase to keep pace with inflation. These are men and women – hailed as key workers during the pandemic for keeping people and goods moving around the country – who have not had a pay rise for four years.

Since we went into dispute we have called eight one-day strikes – more in sorrow than in anger – and drivers withdrew their labour on Saturday 30 July; Saturday 13 August; Saturday 1 October, Wednesday 5 October; Saturday 26 November; Thursday 5 January; and Wednesday 1 and Friday 3 February.

The strikes brought services on affected lines to a halt because ASLEF drivers don’t cross picket lines, drivers stand shoulder to shoulder with each other in solidarity, and TOCs know they can’t run a service without a driver.

We didn’t – and don’t – want to strike but the companies worked hard to push us into this place. Because they refused to offer our members – people who have not had a pay increase since April 2019 – a penny. They wanted train drivers to take a real-terms pay cut – to work just as hard for considerably less – while inflation has been running away under this economically inept Tory government at a rate somewhere north of 12%.

The train companies said their hands had been tied by the government. While the government – which does not employ us – said it was up to the companies to negotiate with us. We are always happy to negotiate – we never refuse to sit down at the table and talk – but the companies offered us nothing. And that was unacceptable.

Some people say strike action doesn’t work. They’re wrong. Because our strikes brought the train companies back to the table and persuaded the government to try, in the words of Transport Secretary Mark Harper and Rail Minister Huw Merriman, to ‘facilitate a resolution’ to the dispute.

We rejected a risible proposal by the Rail Delivery Group, a pressure group that lobbies on behalf of some of the privatised train companies, which arrived at the end not just of the working day, but at the end of the working week, on Friday 6 January, albeit after being selectively leaked by the DfT to The SunDaily Mail, and Daily Telegraph.

The proposal was completely unacceptable – they wanted to rip up our terms and conditions in return for a real-terms pay cut – and one of the team on the other side admitted, candidly but privately: ‘It was designed to be turned down.’ It had taken the RDG six months – and six one-day strikes – to make that proposal, but none of the points had been negotiated with us, and it was made only hours before we met the Rail Minister and then appeared before the Transport Select Committee.

We called two more days of action – on Wednesday 1 and Friday 3 February – and explained to the Rail Minister, in a frank and forthright manner, what was wrong with the RDG proposal and the way they had gone about it.

We have had two subsequent meetings, within the framework of the Rail Industry Recovery Group, established to help rebuild the railway post-pandemic, on Tuesday 7 and Thursday 16 February. We started with a blank sheet of paper – the proposals made by the RDG on Friday 6 January, rejected by ASLEF, have been withdrawn – and talks will continue.

The resolve of our members is rock hard. We have mandates for action at the 15 companies until the summer – a 93% ‘Yes’ vote for strikes on a turnout of 85% shows that our members are in this for the long haul.

The ball is now, firmly, in the companies’ court. They should do the right thing and make a serious and sensible offer – free of strings – to enable train drivers to buy, this year, what they could buy back in 2019.

They have the money – look at how much they ship off to shareholders in the form of dividends – and if they see sense then we can help get the railway back on track.




Designed by Norwood Driver Michael Green



BARNHAM PICKET LINE 12.05.23




TEL WADEY COLLECTION

BARNHAM PICKET MORNING LINE 
12.05.23



TEL WADEY COLLECTION

BARNHAM PICKET MORNING LINE 
12.05.23




STUART BOAKES COLLECTION

HORSHAM PICKET LINE WEDNESDAY 31.05.2023



STUART BOAKES COLLECTION

HORSHAM PICKET LINE SATURDAY 3.06.2023



TEL WADEY COLLECTION

BARNHAM PICKET LINE 01.09.23

BALLOT RESULTS

14th June 2023


GTR Great Northern Thameslink 

Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?

YES 733 (86.34%)

NO 116 (13.66%)


Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?

YES 807 (95.05%)

NO 42 (4.95%)


Turnout: 74.11%


GTR Southern/Gatwick Express

Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?

YES 689 (85.38%)

NO 118 (14.62%)


Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?

YES 757 (94.15%)

NO 47 (5.85%)


Turnout: 72.43%


On Monday 19th June, A.S.L.E.&F. announces a non-contractual overtime is to be withdrawn during the following week

00:01 Monday 3rd July until 23:59 Saturday 8th July 2023.


This was action was reconfirmed fortnightly for the following weeks 

00:01 Monday 17th July until 23:59 Saturday 22nd July 2023

00:01 Monday 31st July until 23:59 Saturday 5th August 2023

00:01 Monday 7th August until 23:59 Saturday 12th August 2023











BRIGHTON PICKET LINE 01.09.23









A.S.L.E.F.: Train drivers’ union announces industrial action and asks 

‘Where’s Wally?’

ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has today [Friday] announced another two days of strike action – on Saturday 30 September and Wednesday 4 October – and an overtime ban across the UK rail network on Friday 29 September and from Monday 2 to Friday 6 October.

The strike will force the train operating companies to cancel all services and the ban on overtime will seriously disrupt the network as the privatised train companies have always failed to employ enough drivers to provide a proper service – the service they promise passengers, businesses, and the government they will deliver – without asking drivers to work their rest days.

The 16 companies affected include: Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; c2c; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; Great Western Railway; Island Line; LNER; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.

Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, said: ‘While we regret having to take this action – we don’t want to lose a day’s pay, or disrupt passengers, as they try to travel by train – the government, and the employers, have forced us into this position. Our members have not, now, had a pay rise for four years – since 2019 – and that’s not right when prices have soared in that time. Train drivers, perfectly reasonably, want to be able to buy now what they could buy four years ago.’

Where’s Wally?
Mick said: ‘Do you remember Where’s Wally? Well, what we want to know is Where’s Harper? We last saw the Secretary of State for Transport in December. We last saw Huw Merriman, the Rail Minister, in January. And we last saw the train companies in April. Since then, nothing. Nada. Zilch. Not a letter, not an email, not a text message, not a phone call, not a WhatsApp. Not a word!’

Harper needs to step up to the mark
‘So where is Mark Harper? He holds the purse strings. The train companies have told us. They say they cannot act without his say-so. He’s the puppet master controlling the companies. But he’s hiding. What’s the man afraid of? We think it’s time Harper stepped up to the mark…’

Putting that offer to our members
Harper, in one of his rare pronouncements, has said, ‘They [meaning ASLEF] should put the offer to their members.’ What he doesn’t understand is that, since the RDG’s risible offer was made, in April, we have received overwhelming mandates, on enormous turnouts, for more industrial action! So, Mr Harper, the members have spoken and you already know what they think…

‘Also, under our rule book, and we are a democratic trade union, we can only put to members an offer we can recommend, and the offer in April was not designed to be accepted. It was designed to be rejected. Which the RDG knew, because we had told them.

‘I want to be clear, because the train companies, as is their way, have tried to muddy the waters. Their 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.’

Do the right thing and come to the table
‘That’s why I am calling on Mr Harper, and Mr Merriman, to come to the negotiating table and negotiate an end to this dispute with us. To do the right thing for the railway – for the companies, for businesses, for passengers, and for staff.

‘It’s time for Mr Harper to stop playing at being the Invisible Man because, at the moment, he is letting Britain down. Anyone would think he doesn’t care…’

Doing deals
Mick added: ‘Doing deals is what we do. In the last twelve months we have successfully struck pay deals with 14 companies. They include freight companies, open access operators, Eurostar, and the passenger companies in Scotland and Wales.

‘We have been unable to do a deal with the 16 train companies, in England, which are controlled by the government. It’s like Tweedledee and Tweedledum. The DfT says we need to talk to the train companies while the train companies complain they cannot sneeze without the permission of the DfT.

‘We will talk to anyone. But, at the moment, they will not talk to us. And each likes to blame the other. They are happy, clearly, for industrial action to continue. And for passengers to suffer. We have come to agreements, and have no problems, in Scotland [with ScotRail] and in Wales [with Transport for Wales] where transport has been devolved. This is a dispute in England made at Westminster by the Tory government.’

Is there a way out of here?
We gave the train companies 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 in this dispute, to deal with the cost-of-living crisis. Then we said that other matters could, would, and should be dealt with company by company; ie, bespoke deals rather than one size fits all.

Because there are 16 companies involved in this dispute and drivers’ terms and conditions are different at each of those companies. In fact, at one company, there are, because of amalgamations over the years, three different sets of t&cs! The railway, since privatisation, has become fragmented.

Uncoupling the carriages, as it were, would have given the TOCs, and the government, a face-saving way out. And given us the opportunity to deal, company by company, with any changes and productivity they were looking for. Because, for example, some TOCs have Sundays in the working week, and some don’t. One size does not – and cannot – fit all. Which is why some companies are now not happy with the approach taken by the RDG, and what the government is – and is not – doing.

Note to editors:

We have, so far, called 12 one-day strikes during this 16-month dispute. Our first ballots went out in June last year and our members withdrew their labour on Saturday 30 July 2022; Saturday 13 August; Saturday 1 October; Wednesday 5 October; Saturday 26 November; Thursday 5 January 2023; Wednesday 1 February; Friday 3 February; Friday 12 May; Wednesday 31 May; Saturday 3 June; and Friday 1 September.

We have also withdrawn rest day working – as the rail industry calls non-contractual overtime, which is, of course, voluntary, not mandatory – and is ‘action short of a strike’ from Monday 15 to Saturday 20 May; from Monday 3 to Saturday 8 July; from Monday 17 to Saturday 22 July; from Monday 31 July to Saturday 5 August; from Monday 7 to Saturday 12 August; and on Saturday 2 September.

Our negotiating team – general secretary Mick Whelan, assistant general secretary Simon Weller, and executive committee president Dave Calfe –  met representatives of the employers, the Rail Delivery Group, under the agreed post-pandemic framework of the Rail Industry Recovery Group, on Tuesday 7 February; Thursday 16 February; Tuesday 21 February; Thursday 2 March; Tuesday 21 March; Tuesday 4 April; Thursday 13 April; and Wednesday 26 April to try to resolve this dispute.

Keith Richmond
Media & Communications
ASLEF









IAN HUGHES COLLECTION

BRIGHTON PICKET LINE 30.09.23




TEL WADEY COLLECTION

BARNHAM PICKET LINE 30.09.23




DENISE BLOOM COLLECTION

HORSHAM PICKET LINE 30.09.23


Tel Wadey Collection

Barnham picket line 04.10.2023




DAVE COOMBER COLLECTION

Brighton Picket Line 04.10.2023






IAN HUGHES COLLECTION

Brighton Picket Line 04.10.2023






BEN WILSON COLLECTION







NOVEMBER 15th 2023


Strike Dates


Please read carefully as these vary by company


Saturday 2nd December 2023

Members at LNER and East Midlands Railway should not sign on for duty between 00:01and 23:59. This will also apply to any duties commencing on Saturday 2nd December that run into Sunday 3rd December.


Sunday 3rd December 2023

Members at Avanti West Coast, GTR-Great Northern Thameslink, West Midlands Trains and Chiltern Railways should not sign on for duty between 00:01 and 23:59. This will also apply to any duties commencing on Sunday 3rd December that run into Monday 4th December.


Tuesday 5th December 2023

Members at Greater Anglia and C2C should not sign on for duty between 00:01 and 23:59.This will also apply to any duties commencing on Tuesday 5th December that run into Wednesday 6th December.


Wednesday 6th December 2023

Members at South Western Railway (mainline and depot drivers), SWR Island Line, Southern/Gatwick Express and Southeastern should not sign on for duty between 00:01and 23:59. This will also apply to any duties commencing on Wednesday 6th December that run into Thursday 7th December.


Thursday 7th December 2023

Members at Great Western Railway and Cross Country should not sign on for duty between 00:01 and 23:59. This will also apply to any duties commencing on Thursday 7th December that run into Friday 8th December.


Friday 8th December 2023

Members at Transpennine Trains and Northern Trains should not sign on for duty between 00:01 and 23:59. This will also apply to any duties commencing on Friday 8th December that run into Saturday 9th December.


Overtime Withdrawal


Friday 1st December - Saturday 9th December (all companies)

Members should withdraw from all non-contractual overtime starting from 00:01 on Friday 1st December until 23:59 on Saturday 9th December.






BALLOT RESULTS

30th DECEMBER 2023


GTR Great Northern Thameslink


Would you be prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?

YES 780 (89.66%)

NO 90 (10.34%)


Would you be prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?

YES 836 (95.98%)

NO 35 (4.02%)


Turnout: 76.31%


Southern/Gatwick Express


Would you be prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?

YES 716 (86.47%)

NO 112 (13.53%)


Would you be prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?

YES 777 (93.84%)

NO 51 (6.16%)


Turnout: 75%





GRAHAM RICHARDSON COLLECTION

HORSHAM PICKET LINE 30.01.24






FORMER DRIVER PETER STOREY 
EXPLAINS THE CURRENT SITUATION 
FROM A DRIVER'S POSITION
14th DECEMBER 2023

Why are many of the country's train drivers still having to go on strike?
The government keeps advertising that they have offered the drivers 4% for last year, and 4% for this year, but what they always fail to tell you is that there are many strings attached.
The government wants various and far reaching changes to the drivers contracts in exchange for this poor below inflation pay rise.
Since 1994 when the Tories broke-up British Rail into 110 different private companies, each company has subsequently negotiated different pay and conditions for their staff.
There is no longer one rate of pay across the country for train drivers. In fact there is a huge difference in both pay and contracts.
Network Rail which looks after the main stations and all the rail infrastructure, including the track, bridges, tunnels and embankments went bust a few years ago, and was then taken back into public hands by the government.
Likewise several Train Operating companies found that they couldn't make sufficient profits and handed back their franchise contracts to the government. This includes LNER, SE Trains and others.
Today there are 28 Train Operating Companies (TOCs), both passenger and freight operators.
The franchise system ended during the COVID pandemic because none of the TOCs could make money, and so many threatened to walk away from the industry handing their franchises back to the government.
As a result the 28 companies are now divided into two types of companies. Ones which now have direct management contracts with the government to operate the train services. The government takes all the revenue and pays the company to run the service.
The second type of operators are Open Access train operators. These companies can operate as few, or as many, services as they believe will make a profit. They get no payment from the government and are free to negotiate pay and conditions for all their staff. Hull Trains, Grand Central and Lumo are examples of these Open Access operators.
None of the staff of the Open Access companies have needed to go on strike as the Unions have been able to negotiate freely with them. Good pay rises were agreed without any industrial action, unlike the government managed TOCs.
Every TOC, whether Open Access or government controlled, have different contracts with their staff. Some companies have negotiated that Sunday's are part of the working week with no additional pay. These companies pay higher drivers salaries because of this agreement.
Companies that generally do not include Sundays or Bank Holidays in the working week, pay lower basic salaries, but staff can work the Sundays and Bank Holidays in return for extra pay, often adding 10-15% a year above their basic pay.
The government as part of this 4% pay offer wants ALL companies to have Sunday and Bank Holidays included in new contracts.
However because of the plethora of different contracts it's impossible to have a one size fits all agreement. For example a driver who already has a 'clean salary ' which includes Sundays etc. would get the 4% without giving up too much.
However those drivers which rely on working Sundays and Bank Holidays to push up their salaries would be losing that 10-15% overtime money in return for just 4%. Hardly a fair pay rise, in fact a pay decrease.
This is why ASLE&F cannot ask all the drivers to vote on the proposal - it has very different outcomes for different companies. Some drivers would lose a large part of their existing pay, others wouldn't.
The government is also demanding changes in training schedules, rostering, holidays etc. The derisory pay offer is only payable if these other conditions are altered to the governments satisfaction. It's a gun at the head type of negotiation.
So the Union wants the 4% pay offer to be separated from demand for change in the working week contracts.
It's happy to discuss those separately with the various companies, as it has already done with many of them.
This is the way forward. Drivers who are highly trained, extremely well qualified, conscientious and dedicated to the industry cannot afford to let this government force them into submission,. worsening their pay and conditions of work.
I hope this explanation helps the public to understand that what the government pretends is a fair and acceptable offer for all; it's far more complicated, and in fact a decrease in annual pay for some.
Drivers, like everyone, do not enjoy being on strike losing money. Their Union is trying to be fair to all it's members.
Don't forget too that the Union has had a strong backing recently from it's members to continue the dispute until the pay offer is separated from the various conditions that are attached to it.





JANUARY 15th 2023


Strike Dates


Please read carefully as these vary by company


Action Short of a Strike - consisting of a ban on non-compulsory overtime - will apply to all companies from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6 February.


Please support the strike by not booking on for duty and attending a picket line to show the government that we will not back down in the fight for a fair deal for train drivers.


The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 is now enforceable and as such you may be identified on a work notice which requires you to attend work on a strike day.


Strikes & Non-compulsory overtime ban dates


Avanti West Coast

Strike day: Saturday 3 February 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6 February.

C2C

Strike day: Friday 2 February 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


Chiltern Railways

Strike day: Monday 5 February 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


CrossCountry

Strike day: Monday 5 February 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


East Midlands Railway

Strike day: Saturday 3 February 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


Great Western Railway

Strike day: Monday 5 February 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


Greater Anglia

Strike day: Friday 2 February 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


GTR Great Northern Thameslink

Strike day: Tuesday 30 January 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


Island Line

Strike day: Tuesday 30 January 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


LNER

Strike day: Friday 2 February 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


Northern Trains

Strike day: Wednesday 31 January 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


South Western Railway Depot Drivers

Strike day: Tuesday 30 January 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


South Western Railway Mainline

Strike day: Tuesday 30 January 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


Southeastern

Strike day: Tuesday 30 January 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


Southern/Gatwick Express

Strike day: Tuesday 30 January 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


Transpennine Trains

Strike day: Wednesday 31 January 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6February.


West Midlands Trains

Strike day: Saturday 3 February 00:01 - 23:59.

No non-compulsory overtime from 00:01 Monday 29 January until 23:59 Tuesday 6 February.





STUART BOAKES  COLLECTION

HORSHAM PICKET LINE 30.01.24




MARK LEE COLLECTION

BARNHAM PICKET LINE 30.01.24




DAVE SMITHERS COLLECTION

BARNHAM PICKET LINE 30.01.24





IAN HUGHES COLLECTION

BRIGHTON PICKET LINE 30.01.24

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