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LNER and Northern train drivers to strike over 'persistent' failure to honour agreements, Aslef says

TRAIN drivers at LNER and Northern will strike today over the train companies’ persistent failure to comply with existing agreements, Aslef has said.

In a separate dispute over the national long-running pay dispute between the union and 16 train operating companies, members at the two companies refused to work non-contractual overtime from today to Saturday.

An Aslef spokesman said LNER has for nearly two years “constantly badgered [members] for favours and non-compliance with rostering arrangements,” while paying managers £500 a shift to drive trains on strike days.

At Northern, he said the dispute centred around management “failing to adhere to procedures and agreements on a variety of subjects including bullying, intimidation, and gaslighting of union reps and the subsequent cover-ups of investigations into this.”

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “We are fed up to the back teeth with the bad faith shown, day after day, week after week, and month after month by these two companies.

“These companies think they can break agreements — which they freely enter into — whenever it suits them. And they are wrong.” 

Aslef regional organiser and lead officer for LNER and Northern, Nigel Roebuck, said Rail Minister Huw Merriman’s “bizarre” discussion over his outline for manager drivers at the transport select committee on Wednesday “tells only half the story.”

With managers paid anywhere from £82,000 to £90,000-plus, he said: “More than 2,500 of these bounty bonuses have been paid out since the dispute started — well over £1 million in bonuses alone, and rising daily.” 

Managers with “limited” route knowledge see services sacrificed for mainline routes, with managers not actually doing what they are employed to do, said Mr Roebuck.

The companies were contacted for comment.

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