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Train strikes kick off tomorrow: What are your rights?

Train strikes kick off tomorrow: What are your rights?
Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Train drivers at 16 train operating companies (TOCs) will tomorrow begin a week of industrial action in a long-running dispute over pay, while an overtime ban starts today.

The action is likely to bring Britain’s railways to a standstill. Members of the ASLEF union will walk out as follows:

  • Saturday 2 December: East Midlands Trains and LNER
  • Sunday 3 December: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern Thameslink, and West Midlands Trains
  • Tuesday 5 December: C2C and Greater Anglia
  • Wednesday 6 December: Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, SWR main line, SWR depot drivers, and Island Line
  • Thursday 7 December: CrossCountry and GWR
  • Friday 8 December: Northern and TPT

All ASLEF members will also refuse to work any overtime from today (Friday 1 December) to Saturday 9 December.

Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, said: “We are going on strike again not to inconvenience passengers, but to express our disgust at the intransigence of this Government, and the bad faith shown by the private companies which employ us.

“It is clear that the Tory Government does not want to resolve this dispute. We haven’t had a meeting with Mark Harper, the transport secretary, since December 2022. We haven’t had a meeting with Huw Merriman, the rail minister, since January this year. And we haven’t heard from the employers, the private sector train operating companies for whom we work, since April.

“We are prepared to come to the table and negotiate but the TOCs – and the Tories that stand behind them in what is turning into a political, rather than an industrial, dispute –  simply can’t be bothered. They are happy to see this dispute rumble on, for passengers and businesses to suffer, and to drive Britain’s railways – once the envy of the world – into a managed decline.”

The rolling programme of one-day strikes and a nine-day overtime ban which starts today is designed to ratchet up the pressure on the 16 TOCs and the government.

ASLEF has previously called its members to all strike on the same day. By spreading out the strike action across the week, coupled with the overtime ban, the ramifications for the rail industry will be greater.

Whelan added: “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. Don’t forget that inflation, at one point, was running at more than 12%.”

Strike action: Your rights

Passengers with advance tickets can get a refund if the train that they are booked on is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.

If passengers have a return ticket they may also be entitled to a fee-free refund if any part of the journey is cancelled due to strikes.

Season ticket holders (flexi, monthly or longer) who cannot travel can claim 100% compensation for strike dates through the Delay Repay scheme.