7 Days Remaining

Friday 14th
posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

BRITAIN’S worst-performing railway is set to be shut down by a fresh wave of drivers’ strikes next month.

Drivers’ union Aslef announced yesterday that its members had voted to walk out in a new dispute over pay.

The dispute covers Southern and Gatwick Express services — which are both run as part of Govia Thameslink Railway, which is partly owned by the French state.

Drivers will strike on August 1, 2 and 4, the Aslef executive confirmed.

The pay dispute comes on top of a separate row on Southern over driver-only trains — which has prompted numerous strikes by both guards and currently a drivers’ overtime ban.

Staff fear the expansion of driver-only operation will compromise safety and lead to job losses.

Commenting on the pay dispute, Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “Now is the time for Chris Grayling and the Department for Transport to step in and assist in finding a resolution to a problem they caused.”

Drivers have reportedly been offered a rise of 23.8 per cent over four years.

A Southern spokesman said: “To call three days of strikes spread across a week is a deliberate move to cause maximum disruption for passengers.

“To do so in protest against an offer to increase pay by 24 per cent is simply breathtaking.

“Commuters, the vast majority of whom are seeing pay rises many times less, will understandably be as shocked and frustrated as we are.”

In the new ballot, 61.8 per cent of drivers voted for strikes, with 78.4 per cent backing action short of strike. Turnout was 80.8 per cent.