LONDON (Reuters) -British rail staff at two train unions are planning a new round of nationwide strike action on Sept. 15 and 26 over pay, job security and conditions, the latest in a wave of industrial unrest as inflation outpaces pay rises.
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said it was pushing for a revised pay deal for staff at train operating companies after rejecting a 2% offer.
The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers (ASLEF), who have previously walked out on July 30 and Aug. 13, said they wanted a “proper pay offer” to help their members keep up with the increase in the cost of living.
The unions said they were still in talks about a possible settlement.
“They want train drivers to take a real terms pay cut – to work just as hard this year as last, but for 10% less,” ASLEF’s general secretary Mick Whelan said. “Because inflation is now in double figures and heading higher.”
ASLEF members at 12 companies, including Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, LNER, London Overground, Northern Trains, Southeastern, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains will participate in the strike action on Sept. 15.
TSSA union leader Manuel Cortes said: “I welcome the fact that negotiations are ongoing with Network Rail and the gap towards a resolution is narrowing. Time will tell whether a deal can be done to avert our next strike”.
The strike action on Sept. 26 will coincide with the annual conference of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, to be held in Liverpool, the TSSA said.
Inflation in Britain topped 10% in July, with forecasts projecting further increases that could worsen a cost-of-living crisis, spurred mainly by soaring energy bills.
(Reporting by Farouq Suleiman and Sachin Ravikumar; editing by William James)