Train drivers are to stage fresh strikes, coinciding with the Conservative party’s annual conference, in their long-running dispute over pay.
Aslef announced its members at 16 train operators will walk out on September 30 – the day before the conference – and October 4, the final day of the event.
The union said the strikes will force train operators to cancel all services, causing travel chaos for passengers, including those travelling to and from the Conservative conference in Manchester, which is being held from October 1 to 4.
Aslef members will also ban overtime from September 29 to October 6, which the union said will “seriously disrupt” the rail network.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: “While we regret having to take this action – we don’t want to lose a day’s pay or disrupt passengers as they travel by train – the Government and employers have forced us into this position.
“Our members have not had a pay rise for four years – since 2019 – and that’s not right when prices have soared in that time.
“Train drivers quite reasonably want to be able to buy now what they could buy four years ago.”
Mr Whelan likened Transport Secretary Mark Harper to “Where’s Wally?”, saying he had made no contact with the union since last December.
“Where’s Mark Harper? He holds the purse strings. The train companies have told us. They say they cannot act without his say-so.”
Alan Jones – Press Association