illions across the country may face severe travel disruption on Saturday due to a 24-hour walkout staged by train drivers.
The Aslef union, which represents trains drivers across seven operators, is staging a walk out over pay demands, which will affect the London Overground, LNER trains, Southeastern, Great Western, Greater Anglia, Hull Trains and all Heathrow Express trains.
Passengers have also been warned that Southern and Thameslink services will experience increased use and could be disrupted. Passengers hoping to travel to the southwest, southeast and Midlands from London, have all been advised to expect some travel disruption.
Millions are expected to travel for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the opening day of the English Football League and the Euro 2022 women’s final at Wembley Stadium tomorrow.
Andy Lord, Transport for London’s chief operating officer, said: “Planned strike action on the national rail network on Saturday will mean disruption for our customers.
“With no service expected on the entire London Overground network, I advise all customers to check before they travel and use alternative routes to complete their journeys.”
Mick Whelan at the picket line
Unions are taking ‘taxpayer for a ride’, says Grant Shapps
Writing in The Times, the Transport Secretary said: “The ‘Two Micks’, Lynch of the RMT and Whelan of Aslef, are taking the taxpayer for a ride, but not in the way they are meant to.
“RMT is stalling on reform and Aslef is dragging its feet in negotiations while both call more strikes. Enough.”
Head of Aslef explains strike action
Mick Whelan, general secretary of the union has explained why members are striking today.
He says: “We don’t want to inconvenience passengers, our friends and families use public transport, too, and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike but we’ve been forced into this position by the companies, who say they have been driven to this by the Tory government.
“Many of our members, who were the men and women who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic, have not had a pay rise since 2019.
“With inflation running at north of 10% that means those drivers have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years.
“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.
“It’s not unreasonable to ask your employer to make sure you’re not worse off for three years in a row.”