TransPennine Express warns passengers that no services are running today during driver strike
Members of the train drivers’ union Aslef are taking industrial action today and planning to walk out again on Saturday, as part of a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
Passengers have been told there will be no TransPennine Express (TPE) services running during the strikes and there will be “a very limited timetable” when RMT members take industrial action on Friday.
Northern has stated that it will run no services during the Aslef strikes and 13 other operators across the country are also affected.
It comes after the Government’s operator of last resort took control of TPE services, because the FirstGroup-owned operator forced passengers to endure months of severe disruption.
The new state-owned operator has stated there will be “no quick fix” and “it will take time before passengers start to see substantial improvement”. It also said a number of drivers have decided not to transfer over and continue driving.
TPE had been cancelling more trains than any other operator, with the equivalent of 14.9 per cent axed in the four weeks to April 29.
It blamed several issues for the disruption, but said there would have been an immediate improvement if the train drivers agreed to work overtime again so they can cover for absent colleagues and train new recruits.
The trade union accepted a new rest-day working agreement last month – allowing TPE drivers to work overtime for the first time since December 2021 and earn 175 per cent of their normal rate.
But hours after accepting the deal, the union imposed another ban on overtime, claiming members had backed industrial action due to a dispute over their working conditions.
Henri Murison, Chief Executive of Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said the new operator and Aslef need to find a solution to the dispute.
He added: “The operator of last resort and their interim managing director need to get their priorities straight.
"As a stakeholder, I don’t think TransPennine have ever in the recent history not engaged with anyone trying to support and assist them. The issue was that government had them doing their long-standing bidding of holding out against Aslef.
"Instead, we need a solution to the local industrial action short of strike immediately.
"As soon as this happens, the rest day working agreement which I do credit the current Rail Minister for allowing after the previous misjudgements and missteps by his predecessors will take effect, and the training of new drivers will accelerate rapidly.”
Aslef said this week’s strikes, which will affect 15 train operators across the country, are being staged because most drivers have not had a pay rise in four years, despite the cost-of-living crisis.
The union also said drivers will not have new contracts, which would make Sundays part of a standard working week, “forced upon them with no compensation”.
Train drivers who join TPE are currently being offered starting salaries of £58,000.