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Chronicle Live
Chronicle Live
Simon Meechan

February 2023 train drivers' strike to impact rail services in Newcastle and around North East

Train drivers working for 15 operators will go on strike again in early February.

Members of the Aslef union will strike on Wednesday February 1 and Friday February 3 in a dispute over pay and jobs. CrossCountry, LNER, Northern and Transpennine, who all operate trains through Newcastle, are affected.

Aslef said its members rejected an "unacceptable" pay offer from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

Read more: More working days lost to October strikes than any month in past 10 years

Mick Whelan, Aslef general secretary, said: “The offer is not acceptable but we are willing to engage in further discussions with the train operating companies.”

The companies affected include Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; London North Eastern Railway; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway (depot drivers only); SWR Island Line; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.

Mr Whelan added: “Not only is the offer a real-terms pay cut, with inflation running north of 10%, but it came with so many conditions attached that it was clearly unacceptable.

“They want to rip up our terms and conditions in return for a real-terms pay cut. It was clearly a rushed offer, made just before our meeting with the minister, and not one, it seems to me, that was designed to be accepted.

“Our members at these companies have not had an increase since 2019, despite soaring inflation, and it is time the companies – encouraged, perhaps, by the Government – sat down with us and got serious.

“That is the way – and the only way – to end this dispute.“

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, said:“It’s disappointing our fair and affordable offer, which would take average driver base salaries from £60,000 to nearly £65,000 by the end of 2023 pay awards, wasn’t put to the Aslef members. With taxpayers still funding up to an extra £175 million a month to make up the shortfall in revenue post-covid, it provided a significant salary uplift while bringing in long overdue, common-sense reforms that would mean more reliable services for passengers.

"Rather than announcing further unnecessary strikes, we ask Aslef to recognise the very real financial challenge the industry is facing and work with us to deliver a better railway with a strong long-term future.”

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