The Rail Delivery Group responds to the latest Aslef ballot announcement

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, said:

“We want to give our people a pay rise, but to fund it unions must recognise that as an industry that has lost 20% of its revenue, we can either adapt or decline. 

"Instead of causing further disruption to passengers and businesses, we urge the Aslef leadership to continue talks so we can change our services to meet new travel patterns, improve punctuality and secure a bright, long-term future for our people."

Contact Information

Martin Spencer

Media Relations Manager

Rail Delivery Group

Notes to editors

  • The discussions between operators and most unions have been constructive. The shape of the reform package needed so we can both give our people a pay rise and bring the railway into line with others in the wider travel industry is emerging. But more strike action would only make this harder. The last strikes cost the industry £150m, making it harder to fund a settlement. We can resolve this but only through talking and if the leaders of the rail unions constructively engage.

We want to deliver:  

  • More reliable services on a Sunday by contracting overtime on Sundays rather than relying on voluntary working, so cover for shifts is guaranteed and train companies can plan more robust, reliable train services
  • Increased punctuality by making staff terms and conditions more flexible, so the railway is more resilient and bringing in new technology for quicker, more efficient and safer railway maintenance  


According to RDG figures, in terms of base salary:  

  • The average train driver salary across the network is £60,055 
  • That compares with £44,985 ten years ago. 
  • The average driver salary has increased by more than a third – 34% - in the past decade. 
  • The lowest rise in salary at a TOC over ten years is 22%.  
  • The highest rises seen over that period were 55% and 62%  


The disparity in pay between average (median) train driver pay and jobs in the wider economy: 

  • Train driver median salary: £59,000   
  • The train driver’s median salary compares with:   
  • Rail sector employee median salary: £44,000  
  • Nurse median salary: £31,000   
  • UK full-time worker median salary: ~£31,000   
  • Care worker median salary: £21,000   
  • Operators made between £99m-£150m during the first year of the pandemic – data for the second year is not available yet   
  • A 5% pay deal across the whole industry would cost around £280m a year. That’s around double what the train operators made in 20/21 (approx. £99-150m) – it’s just not a credible suggestion.