Lancashire train passengers set to face more disruption due to strikes

Rail passengers in Lancashire could be facing yet more summer disruption after drivers voted for strike action in a pay dispute.

Members of the drivers union Aslef at eight train companies, including Northern and TransPennine Express, which serve Lancashire, backed the industrial action by 9-1 in favour of strikes on turnouts of more than 80 per cent.

It follows similar action from the TSSA and RMT rail unions earlier this summer as the cost of living crisis bites.

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Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: "Strikes are always the last resort. 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 driven by the Government.

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"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 per cent 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.

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

"It's not unreasonable to ask your employer to make sure you're not worse off for three years in a row.

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"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."

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "It is very disappointing that, rather than commit to serious dialogue with the industry, Aslef are first seeking to cause further misery to passengers by joining others in disrupting the rail network.

"The train drivers they represent earn, on average, just under £60,000 per year - more than twice the UK median salary and significantly more than the very workers who will be most impacted by these strikes.

"Our railway is in desperate need of modernisation to make it work better for passengers and be financially sustainable for the long term. We urge the union bosses to reconsider and work with its employers, not against them, to agree a new way forward."