Trains between Scotland and England to be severely disrupted in latest strike
rain services between Scotland and England will be severely disrupted on Friday as rail unions walk out in their latest strike action.
Members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will stop work in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
Rail operators warned of severe disruption, with trains that do run due to start later and finish much earlier than usual – typically between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
Cross-border services operated by CrossCountry, Transpennine Express and Avanti West Coast will not run on Friday.
LNER said it will run an amended service and Lumo, which run trains between Edinburgh and London, said it will aim to run as many services as possible.
No LNER trains will run any further north than Edinburgh, with trains between Edinburgh and London King’s Cross starting later and finishing earlier than usual.
ScotRail has reassured customers that all services would operate as normal this week.
David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, said: “No ScotRail services will be affected by this week’s upcoming strike action.
“It is disappointing to see more widespread disruption across Great Britain at a time when the railway needs to be doing everything it can to encourage more people to travel by train.
“The dispute between the trade unions and other train operators does not involve any ScotRail staff, which means ScotRail services will operate as normal on Wednesday 1 and Friday 3 February.”
Simon Weller, assistant general secretary of Aslef, said the dispute was going “backwards” because of the lack of progress in months of talks.
Obviously it was going to be rejected – it was designed to fail
He told the PA news agency: “I don’t know whether to point the finger of blame at the ineptitude of the Department for Transport (DfT) or the Rail Delivery Group.
“We would struggle to recommend a deal of a 4% pay rise for last year and 4% this year if there were no conditions attached, but we are being asked to give up collective bargaining and effectively agree to a no-strike deal.
“Obviously it was going to be rejected – it was designed to fail.”
Mr Weller said the attitude among Aslef members was “hardening” and the fault lay squarely with the DfT and train operators.
He claimed the latest offer would add a “significant” number of contracted hours to a train driver’s work.
On the issue of whether Sunday working should be compulsory, he said: “We have been willing to include Sundays in the working week, but companies find it cheaper to have drivers working overtime on Sundays.”
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: “Having made an initial offer which would have taken average driver salaries from £60,000 to nearly £65,000, we had hoped the Aslef leadership would engage constructively to move talks forward, rather than staging more unnecessary strikes. We can only apologise for the disruption.
“To minimise the impact of the Aslef action, we advise passengers to check before they travel, allow extra time and find out when their first and last train will depart.”
It will be the second strike by train drivers this week, after a huge day of industrial action on Wednesday which also involved teachers, university staff, civil servants, bus drivers and security guards.