Analysis Breaking News

ASFLEF drivers at eight train companies to strike 30 July

Train drivers’ union ASLEF has announced a day of strike action after train companies failed to make a pay offer to remotely keep pace with the cost of living increases.

The union’s general secretary Mick Whelan said:

We don’t want to go on strike – strikes are the result of a failure of negotiation – and this union, since I was elected GS in 2011, has only ever been on strike, until this year, for a handful of days.

We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – not least because our friends and families use public transport, too, and we believe in building trust in the railways in Britain – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike.

But we’ve been forced into this position by the train companies, driven by the Tory government. The drivers at the companies where we are striking have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years – since April 2019.

And these companies are offering us nothing, saying their hands have been tied by the government. That means, in real terms, with inflation running ahead at 9%, 10%, and even 11% this year, according to which index you use, that they are being told to take a real terms pay cut. And that is not acceptable.

Strike action is now the only option available but we are always open to talks if the train companies, or the government, want to talk to us and make a fair and sensible offer.

Members at eight companies – Arriva Rail London, Chiltern Railways, Greater Anglia, Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, Southeastern and West Midlands Trains – will strike on Saturday 30 July.

Whelan added:

We want an increase in line with the cost of living – we want to be able to buy, in 2022, what we could buy in 2021 – for those members – who were, you will remember, the people who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic – who have not had a pay rise since 2019.

It’s not unreasonable to ask your employer to make sure you’re not worse off for a third successive year. Especially as the train companies are doing very nicely, thank you, out of Britain’s railways with handsome profits, dividends for shareholders, and big salaries for managers.

We don’t think we’re special; we believe no worker in this country should put up with pay cuts year after year just because this government has allowed inflation to rise. Whatever happened to the Tory wish for good, well-paid, jobs? Obviously that’s only for the CEOs, not for the workers doing the job.

If a train driver doesn’t get a cost of living increase, it won’t mean that a nurse, or care worker, or cleaner will get one. And this isn’t – or shouldn’t be – about setting one worker against another.

Wage rises aren’t exacerbating inflation, anyway. Excess profiteering is. The government isn’t asking companies to cut profits or dividend payments to help manage inflation. Wages are chasing prices, not putting them up.

Driving a train is a professional, highly technical and safety-critical job requiring a year’s training. Drivers take responsibility for the lives of up to 1,300 people on any journey.

Attempts by the government and the train companies to claim that money for decent pay rises doesn’t exist simply do not stand up to scrutiny. Before the pandemic, operators paid out dividends of £262 million. In the year of Covid, they still paid out £38 million. With passenger numbers almost back to pre-pandemic levels, massive payouts are again back on the train companies’ agenda:

  • Between March 2020 and March 2021 train operators were paid management fees of more than £132 million
  • The rolling stock companies – which buy the locomotives and carriages to lease to the operators – pocketed £3 billion in 2020/21 – a 5% increase on 2019/20. This figure has doubled since 2015/16. Eversholt, in 2020, paid a £46.5 million dividend. Porterbrook paid out £80 million
  • In the list of highest earning public sector officials (senior civil servants and senior officials in departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies), 9 out of the top 10 are from the transport industry and 8 of the 10 are in rail. Top of the list is Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd, who earns £620,000. Next is Andrew Haines, CEO of Network Rail, on £585,000

Meanwhile, Labour members are having to censure their MP and Keir Starmer for betraying striking workers.

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30 comments

  1. Learn from the past and hit the government hard….General strike before the winter and bring this Tory government down.Now or never..!Last chance saloon for the unions and the working class for decades if they waste this chance…..

    1. General strike before the winter and bring this Tory government down>

      And replace this toerag government with another that doesn’t support workers, AND would happily allow children to do a day’s schooling unfed AND one that will also refuse to tax the rich?

      The aim of a general strike should be to bring about a sea change in politics. Not the charade of a so-called a change of government.

  2. Totally agree Toffee…but the only useful tip I ever had from my group leader was try your best to calm down and remember we need to win the battle before we win the war ,but he was probably accurate although I didn’t follow the advice but thats my achilies heel. and has always for my own detrimental
    A fightback first and the unions can be a catylist for a new party that represents all of us including the invisible working class..Meanwhile in my country Ireland effigys of prominent Sinn Fein and alliance party are burnt on bonfires in a celebration of hatred
    This time we wait patiently because theres no going back to a British colony and the future is a United Ireland.for all working class people of Ulster protestant Catholic and any.faith or none.

  3. We have all the skills and professions within each Community from Medical to Hygiene. We could organise ourselves and instead of protests and riots, only to face their eager Military style Police, we stay at home and enjoy organised events within our communities.
    Give them NOTHING! Not even a single drop of Petrol! We withdraw from their conveyor belt and get back to being communities in every sense of the word!
    Let them come out into the streets and beg us to return to their Capitalist Money Mainline on OUR terms.
    The transport sector is perhaps one of the few lucky enough to be contracted workers and are abke to down tools, there are millions on 0 hour contracts who simply can’t. That is the kind of predatory culture of fear that the Conservative and Neo-Labour TORIES rely on.
    And the only solution for this is Mass Action and go for their jugular – Their Beloved Money!

    1. Here’s a list of some of the policies which were announced at last year’s Labour Party Conference that address most of the concerns that you have outlined

      ▪ Fair pay agreements. “A Labour government will bring together representatives of workers and employers to negotiate pay and conditions in every sector. Collective bargaining in every sector will end the free market free-for-all that encourages undercutting, exploitation and a race to the bottom.”
      ▪ Give all workers rights from day one in their jobs: sick pay, holiday pay, parental leave and protection against unfair dismissal.
      ▪ Create one, single worker status, banning bogus self-employment.
      ▪ Ban zero-hour contracts and ensure all contracts come with minimum hours and reflect normal working life, requiring notice of shift changes and pay.
      ▪ End fire and rehire. “Labour will end the scandalous practice of fire and rehire once and for all.”
      ▪ Introduce a new right to flexible working as the default, protections for those with caring responsibilities and a right to switch off.
      ▪ Increase statutory sick pay and make it universal.
      ▪ Put mental health and safety on a legal par with physical health and safety, and make sure the laws are enforced by a new, empowered watchdog.
      ▪ Sign into law the new deal for working people within the first 100 days of coming to office.
      ▪ Set up an integrity and ethics commission to “stamp out the Tory sleaze”. .

      1. Two Cheeks
        Here are the Ten Commandments PWC signed upto to get elected, choose one he hasn’t broken

      2. As good as farts on a Windy Day!
        Which of your TORY Filth have NOT destroyed Policies, Pledges, Promices etc, etc, etc? Not one! Why waste time with this shite we’ve had several conversations on Policies by the hands of Connivers, Saboteurs, Spinmeisters, liars etc etc.
        Why do you think any sensible person wouldtake this tripe seriously!? Nothing but Getting Ellected SpinPorn! PURE Charlatainism.

      3. nellyskelly – Any idiot can shout empty rhetoric all day long but without a credible alternative it is just a load of hot air. Why don’t you come back when you actually have something to offer..

      4. “Any idiot can shout empty rhetoric all day long” you can say that again for ever fluff bubble”policy” from The Parasite Neo-Labour Party TORIES!
        There needs to be a credible opposition for a credible alternative, to exist.
        Never you mind you are not invited to this party, not for your concern, but rest assured the Parasite Party who poked The PEOPLE in the eye twice GE2017 & GE2019 will receive payback ans and with all the necessary interest! No matter how your Billionaire Pollsters try to teist or spin their demographics!

      5. You are speaking to me, you replied to me, it is you desperately trying to do the convincing, petal, not me. I am among like minded folk, we share and debate thoughts and ideas you on the other hand!
        Pfffft! Who am I trying to convince, Tut, Tut!

      6. Oh Dear! You a MSM Sheeple, tell me that I live in a bubble, when you are making up some bizarre context about comunication that you instigated, whilst arguing with yourself and then blaming me for your stupidity!?
        Time to retire dear, you’re getting too old for this trolling lark.

      7. WTAFF!
        Why would I care what sayanim central LabourList or much less LikudHerut HQ/JLM has to offer!? Retire Trolling!

      8. You: “Any idiot can shout empty rhetoric all day long”
        Me: “You can say that again, for every fluff bubble ”policy” from The Parasite Neo-Labour Party TORIES!”

      9. Crush the Parasites, burn the House down and start from scratch with no Parasite Faux Socialists, Faux Labour, Faux Policies.
        VOTE IN all and any Socialists and NON-Thatcherite Globalist Neoliberal TORIES
        When you and yours killed the UK Labour Party and the one and only opportunity The PEOPLE had, by Sabotage, Coup, Lies and BLiar, Mandelson and Campbell’s Hysterical Remaoner Bandwagon (talk about empty rhetoric, screeching and squeeling over something that you already had!), you removed the overnight UK Labour Party options, my personal prediction at the time was 3 or 4 terms before The PEOPLE have a voice in Parliament, if they started to reawaken from their MSM, MSSM, MSP & MS Internet Slumber.

      10. nellyskelly – So apart from a lack of meaningful support what is stopping you from starting from scratch now.

      11. Oh for Fuck’s sake! It’s already happening, you won’t know, your SUN in Lambskin won’t talk about it, your LabourList wont talk about it, Novara, Owen Jones won’t talk about it, It is for The PEOPLE, NOT the Middle and Upper Class’ Mainstream!
        It?: For just one small example of it! https://youtu.be/laGvjEGZFLo
        What it is not, is BlueKeef at Wimbledon on the same day as above, with the hoity toity, on the Durham Miner’s Gala, that is what it is not!

      12. nellyskelly – Is it, has anybody noticed yet.
        How many voters will ever see this speech and even if they do how enthused will they be. We’ve already seen that cheers at rallies from the devoted and not so devoted few doesn’t actually translate into votes.
        You also have a serious problem with exclusively targeting a working class audience. Besides a substantial proportion of the them voting Tory the working class are a decreasing proportion of the electorate and relying exclusively on a declining demographic the majority of whom actually vote Tory doesn’t look like a very good recipe for success to me. Labour rely on their middle class vote (there are literally more of them). If you either can’t or won’t attract mainstream support you are inevitably heading for failure.

      13. My oh my! You have 0 memory, and you have 0 comprehension. You hear but you can’t listen!
        All those potential issues have been discussed just under the term ‘The PEOPLE’!
        Now once again Luke Akenhurst just because you and your Mainstream Conditioned brain can’t get it, does not mean that it isn’t so.
        Honestly, please shuffle off you’re getting just a tad weird!

      14. nellyskelly – “All those potential issues have been discussed just under the term ‘The PEOPLE’!

        Really?
        Which bit of “The PEOPLE, NOT the Middle and Upper Class’ Mainstream did I misunderstand? Where’s the political movement where’s the party, where’s the candidates,and where is the momentum. Don’t you think that you are perhaps leaving it all a little late.

      15. The PEOPLE, which category do The PEOPLE fall in? A class system is of no interest and has no meaning we are not in the mainstream it means nothing, it does mean something to you though. The PEOPLE are the political movement honestly we’ve discussed all this and if you can’t get it from that you wouldn’t get it at all. Good night.

      16. nellyskelly – Obviously your stance has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this conveniently enabling you to dismiss that for first time ever more of the working class (C2DE) voted for the Tories than voted for Labour and not by just a few percentage points but by a massive 15% margin. I never thought that I would see the day when the Tories could with some legitimacy be able to lay claim to being the party of the working class.
        The reality is that Labour’s middle class (ABC1) voters actually outnumbered their working class voters at the 19GE.

      17. According to your Unverified Billionaire Pollsters. However there were clearly far more of your Middle Class Buffoons on the Remoan Bandwagon, frothing and ranting about something that they already had, screeching that they won’t vote for “Jeremy Corbyn”.
        When the conservatives overwhelmingly wins they a. Blame the Brexiteer Bandwagon and b. Try to pretend that they voted NeoLib Dems or Labour, however the sums don’t add up, most specially not if your SpinPorn Sheeple fodder is correct an more “Middle Class” voted.
        Anyhow it is not possible to define “working class”, not any more when “working class” can earn more than a GP.
        You are making it even harder to take your MSM/MSP SpinPorn Sheeple fodder seriously. If more “middle class” voted then obviously more “middle class” voted for the Conservatives and as the Forde Report now clearly indicates that the Parasite Neo-Labour Party TORIES have diverted funding from certain areas, several more admittedly canvassed against and voted against a Jeremy Corbyn UK Labour Party.
        It is safe to say that the vast majority of “labour” who voted Conservative, were you and your middle class Chums! Who stood to lose more in 2019? You “middle class” or the already, then 41 year TORY battered “working class”? You are insane if you think that there is even a question about it!
        Not only did you Parasite Neo-Labour Party TORIES rob The PEOPLE of GE2019, but you try to blame The PEOPLE for your doing, on every level!

  4. Things are starting to look distinctly like the 1920s/30s. And we all know what happened then.
    The largest energy company in Germany, Uniper, looks like it could go bust. Its losses are mounting. It’s asking for government bailouts. It’s trying to get companies from Finland to help it out, and its share price has fallen by almost 75%.
    How long will it be before we see a similar situation in the UK?
    And that would be on top of the huge inflation rate we already have.

  5. Tony Blair warns that the western world have had their day and the development of the East is inevitably going to happen
    Trust bliar to get it all wrong.China and the East have already overtaken the west and this time there will be no theiving and stripping the assets of the countries in the way the west did.Tonys solution to the economic rise of China?….Invest in arms and build up the war machine.to attack the East This war criminal should be hanging from a lampost in Bagdad or Libya instead hes a billionaire businessman who wants a war with China..The world order is for the chop and the west will be liberated from tyrants.

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