The Rail Delivery Group responds to the strike day announced by Aslef

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “Aslef is once again set to disrupt the travel plans of the very customers who are crucial to the recovery of Britain’s railway and the long-term job security of their members.  

“The strikes during the summer affected millions of people, ranging from essential workers to holidaymakers to people attending hospital appointments. Now, with the start of the new school year, thousands of children and young people who depend on the train to get to school and college will be dragged into this dispute. 

“We want to give our people a pay rise; we know they are facing a squeeze – but the Aslef leadership must recognise that with revenue remaining 20% below pre-covid levels, the solution lies in long-overdue reforms that will put the industry on a sustainable footing, improve punctuality for passengers and fund the pay rise our people deserve.

“Instead of causing further disruption to those who rely on the railway – many of whom are also losing pay as a result of this dispute - we ask Aslef to call off these damaging strikes and continue to talk to us.”

Contact Information

Martin Spencer

Media Relations Manager

Rail Delivery Group

Notes to editors


The reforms we would like to see just extend best practice already in place across the wider network including; 

  • Contracted overtime on Sundays:  
  • - There’s been a rise in leisure passengers at the weekends post-pandemic, but a collapse in commuter traffic – traditionally the financial bedrock of the railway.  
  • - Train drivers tend to work a 4 day week – with some choosing to voluntarily work an extra day as overtime. Our reforms are looking at formalising those arrangements  so cover for shifts is guaranteed and train companies can plan more robust, reliable train services 
  • Rostering: We want to improve how we roster drivers to increase driver availability, make more trains run on time and recover more quickly from disruption 
  • Training: We want to improve the quality and methodology of driver training by using modern training technology including simulators to improve learning. 

These are the types of reforms that could be part of an eventual pay deal – in most cases, these reforms simply extend best practices already in place across the wider network. 

It’s worth remembering that the average driver salary of 60k has increased by more than a third - or 34% - in the past decade. That’s considerably more than the rate of inflation.  

There’s been a rise in leisure passengers at the weekends post-pandemic, but a significant drop in commuter traffic – traditionally the financial bedrock of the railway. 

Executive pay:

“These people are running big and complex companies which operate across the globe, creating tens of thousands of British jobs and boosting the economy. Like any industry, we need to pay salaries that mean we can attract the best talent. 

“In many cases, the rail services they run in Britain are often only a small part of their companies’ operations. Ultimately it is up to the remuneration committees of the respective companies to decide on pay.

Why can’t you fund a deal with TOC profits?

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.

But the claim also ignores the fact that train operators generated a dividend for taxpayers through higher growth and firm cost control. Removing private sector involvement might generate one-off recycling of a small profit margin, but it ignores their record of having doubled passenger numbers over the last 30 years and that, pre-covid, they turned a £2bn operating deficit into an operating surplus. Losing that proven expertise would cost far more over time and, ultimately, make it harder for our people to share in the success of the railway.