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When the Aslef action is running and how trains will be affected

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) and Aslef unions remain embedded in disputes with rail companies over pay, jobs and working conditions.

RMT workers have staged three days of strikes in July, while train drivers represented by Aslef have been refusing to work any overtime.

That overtime ban is continuing this week, and will cause yet more disruption to Britain’s railways. Here’s what you need to know about it, and how each operator will be affected.

When is Aslef’s overtime ban?

Train drivers represented by Aslef working at 15 train operating companies will again refuse to work overtime from Monday 31 July to Saturday 5 August.

Aslef said it had “no alternative but to take this action” as it continues to fight for better pay for its members amid the cost of living crisis.

The following operators have said they do not expect to be able to run their full timetable (follow the links below for the most up to date information from each):

The following companies are currently expecting to be able to run their full timetable, but may experience short-notice cancellations:

The following operators are not affected and should run as normal: c2c, Caledonian Sleeper, Grand Central, Elizabeth Line, Heathrow Express, Hull Trains, London Overground, Lumo, Merseyrail, ScotRail, Transport for Wales.

Aslef said: “The ban – which is the latest move in our long-running national pay dispute – will seriously disrupt services as none of the train companies employs enough drivers to deliver the services they have promised passengers, and the Government, they will run.

“That’s why they are dependent on rest day working, as it is called in the railway industry, which of course is voluntary, and, by agreement, and properly for the purposes of training, and which leaves them vulnerable to this sort of industrial action.”

Will there be more train strikes in August?

The RMT and Aslef’s disputes with the rail companies appear no closer to reaching a conclusion, meaning further strike action is all but guaranteed.

Unions must give at least two weeks’ notice ahead of any walkout, meaning the next round of strikes cannot begin before the second half of August.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has said RMT members are prepared to continue taking industrial action “for as long as it takes” and that he believed their action over the past year had been an inspiration to other workers embroiled in disputes.

He added that he is open for further talks with rail bosses to resolve the dispute.

“This latest phase of action will show the country just how important railway staff are to the running of the rail industry,” he said.

“My team of negotiators and I are available 24/7 for talks with the train operating companies and Government ministers.

“Yet quite incredibly neither party has made any attempt whatsoever to arrange any meetings or put forward a decent offer that can help us reach a negotiated solution.”

He added: “Train companies invest little or nothing in our railways and make completely unjustifiable profits, which they squirrel away in shareholder dividends and bosses’ pay packets.

“It is a scandal that the travelling public is being ripped off by greedy rail privateers while at the same time the Government oversees a corrupt system and prolongs a rail dispute for political reasons.

“It is high time this profits bonanza gravy train was halted, a deal done with the RMT, and the railways returned to public ownership for the good of the country and railway workers.”

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents the rail companies, said how the railway is funded has changed: “The franchise model no longer exists, and train operators are paid on a small performance-related fixed-fee basis.

“They make a profit margin, typically 0.5 per cent, just like all other Government suppliers. Even if that fee were removed in its entirety, it wouldn’t come close to funding the pay rise set out, which would cost almost double the profit margin for one year alone.

“Even before the pandemic, under franchising, operators retained just 2p of every pound raised through ticket sales.”

The RDG said in its statement that since the first RMT strike in June 2022, industrial action had cost the sector £620m.

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