More train strikes announced for February affecting passengers in Northamptonshire

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One union says the proposal that was made after the last round of strikes “is not and could not ever be acceptable”

Two more dates of train strikes have been announced, affecting passengers in Northamptonshire.

Aslef - The Train Drivers’ Union - confirmed on January 17 its members will strike for 24 hours on Wednesday February 1 and 24 hours on Friday February 3. On the same day, RMT also confirmed its members would strike on February 1 and 3.

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These strikes come as the battle for better pay and conditions continue.

Rail strikes will affect services in Northamptonshire.Rail strikes will affect services in Northamptonshire.
Rail strikes will affect services in Northamptonshire.

Aslef also rejected a proposal – that was not the result of negotiation - and was made following the week of strikes at the beginning of January.

London Northwestern Railway has confirmed trains will not run on February 1 and 3 and services might be impacted on January 31 and February 4.

The February strikes will affect train companies, including East Midlands Railway (EMR), meaning passengers at Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough will face travel disruption. There is a possibility that trains running through Northampton could also be affected.

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Mick Whelan general secretary of Aslef said: “The proposal is not and could not ever be acceptable but we are willing to engage in further discussions within the process that we previously agreed.”

The union says an offer was made at the end of play on Friday January 6, after six strikes and just ahead of the union’s meeting with the Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, at 9.30am on Monday January 9.

Mr Whelan added: “Not only is the offer a real-terms pay cut, with inflation running north of 10 percent, but it came with so many conditions attached that it was clearly unacceptable.

“They want to rip up our terms and conditions in return for a real-terms pay cut. It was clearly a rushed offer, made just before our meeting with the minister, and not one, it seems to me, that was designed to be accepted.

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“Our members at these companies have not had an increase since 2019, despite soaring inflation, and it is time the companies – encouraged, perhaps, by the government – sat down with us and got serious.

“That is the way – and the only way – to end this dispute.”

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RMT general secretary Mick Lynch added: "Our negotiations will continue with the rail operators to create a package on jobs, conditions and pay that can be offered to our members."

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: “It’s disappointing our fair and affordable offer, which would take average driver base salaries from £60,000 to nearly £65,000 by the end of 2023 pay awards, wasn’t put to the Aslef members.

“With taxpayers still funding up to an extra £175 million a month to make up the shortfall in revenue post-Covid, it provided a significant salary uplift while bringing in long overdue, common-sense reforms that would mean more reliable services for passengers.

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“Rather than announcing further unnecessary strikes, we ask Aslef to recognise the very real financial challenge the industry is facing and work with us to deliver a better railway with a strong long-term future.”

EMR has not yet released what timetables will look like on the days of the strikes, but it is likely all trains will be cancelled.