Government criticizes Aslef as a possible strike summer

THE government has condemned the decision by railway workers to “try to inflict further misery on passengers” after they voted for industrial action.

The decision threatens to cause further travel chaos for rail travelers and commuters over the summer – a month after industrial action by the RMT union paralyzed most of the rail network.

It comes just days after RMT workers at the Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Southern and Thameslink services, also supported strike action.

Strike action by Aslef could disrupt services from Brighton to other parts of west Sussex, as well as trains from Hastings – but no strike dates have yet been announced.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport described the news as “disappointing”.

She said: “Rather than engage in a serious dialogue with the industry, Aslef first seeks to inflict further misery on passengers by joining others to disrupt the rail network.

“Train drivers they represent earn on average just under £60,000 a year – more than double the UK average wage and well above the workers who will be hardest hit by these strikes.

“Our railway urgently needs to be modernized so that it works better for passengers and is financially viable in the long term. We urge union bosses to rethink their employers and work with them, not against them, to agree a new way forward.”

Argus: Brighton railway station has been left almost empty after strikes paralyzed train services last monthBrighton railway station has been left almost empty after strikes paralyzed trains last month

Aslef general secretary Mike Whelan said strikes are always the “last resort” and members were “forced into this position by government-driven corporations”.

He said: “Many of our members – these were the men and women who have been moving key workers and goods across the country during the pandemic – have not received a pay rise since 2019.

“With inflation above 10 percent, that means these drivers have seen a real pay cut in the last three years.

“It’s not unreasonable to ask your employer to make sure you don’t get worse three years in a row.”

The Rail Delivery Group, a membership organization of passenger and freight rail companies, and Network Rail have urged union leaders to continue talks to avoid disruption.

A spokesman for the group said: “We want rail unions to work with rail operators on the reforms needed to ensure a bright long-term future for the industry, including working with Aslef to deliver the more punctual and reliable services , who we know care about the passengers.

“Rather than continue to disrupt passengers and businesses, we urge Aslef’s leadership to continue talks.” Government criticizes Aslef as a possible strike summer

Fry Electronics Team

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