Transport Secretary rejects extra pay for train drivers amid ongoing disrupti…

There was more than a week of disruption across Britain’s railways earlier this month due to strikes and a ban on overtime by train drivers’ union Aslef.

The pay dispute has lasted more than a year.

Asked about the progress of negotiations, Mr Harper told LBC: “There is an offer on the table.”

“It would take the average salary of a train driver from an average of £60,000 for a 35-hour, four-day week to just under £65,000 for that 35-hour, four-day week.”

“It’s on the table. The table that everyone says I should get round, it’s there. We’re not going to throw more money at train drivers.”

“Mick Whelan (Aslef general secretary) should take the offer that’s on the table, put it to his members and ask them if they want to accept it. He hasn’t done that.”

“I want train drivers to get a pay rise and to stop disrupting the railways.”

In a message to Mr Harper recorded for LBC, Mr Whelan said: “We’ve experienced nothing but bad faith since you took over.

“But we are willing to meet you any time in the next two weeks if you’re willing to resolve this situation.

“We look forward to hearing from you.”

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Mr Harper said when he became Transport Secretary in October 2022 he met the leaders of all trade unions involved in disputes on the railways to “try and get a better dialogue”.

He added that he last met Mr Whelan “a while back” as “I’m not negotiating with him, he’s negotiating with the train operating companies”.

The finances of train operators in England are closely controlled by the Department for Transport.

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