UK train drivers to stage further strikes next month in pay dispute

LONDON (Reuters) -British train drivers plan to hold a fresh round of strikes next month in a prolonged dispute over pay and working conditions, the ASLEF trade union said on Thursday.

The union said drivers would hold a rolling programme of one-day strikes across 16 train companies between Dec. 2 and Dec. 8, as well as a nine-day overtime ban.

“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,” ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said in a statement.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents Britain’s train operators, said a “fair and affordable” offer had been made which would take average driver base salaries for a 4-day week to 65,000 pounds ($80,607), from 60,000 pounds.

“We urge the ASLEF leadership to put it to its members, give Christmas back to our passengers, and end this damaging industrial dispute,” an RDG spokesperson said.

Last week a separate rail union, the RMT, agreed to put its long-running programme of industrial action on hold if its members vote to accept the offer of a way forward aimed at resolving the dispute.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “It is disappointing that ASLEF are targeting the public and hospitality businesses at the beginning of the festive period … ASLEF should be following in the footsteps of the other rail unions and giving their members a vote on this fair pay deal.”

($1 = 0.8064 pounds)

(Reporting by Muvija M and Kylie MacLellan; editing by James Davey)