Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent
Thousands of UK train drivers, under the banner of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) observed a 24-hour strike on 13th August to demand pay raises to compensate for soaring prices of food and fuel in England. The inflation in England currently is at a 40-year high of over 10% and is expected to rise further.
The strike halted trains on major routes, including the main lines between London and Scotland and commuter services around London.
ASLEF represents 96% of train drivers in England, Scotland and Wales and was established in 1880.
The public are increasingly sympathetic towards striking train drivers. “Across the country [people are] beginning to understand that this is not about somebody else inconveniencing them,” said one of the leaders.
“We don’t want to go on strike — strikes are always a last resort — but the companies, and the government, have forced our hand.
“We don’t want to inconvenience passengers because our friends and families use public transport, too, because we believe in building trust in the railways in Britain, and because we don’t want to lose money by taking industrial action.
“The companies have said that they cannot, or will not, give our members an increase.”
There has been no pay increase for drivers for three years.