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ASLEF announce five days of strike action on LNER due to potential implementation of Minimum Service Law

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12LDA28C

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I can't see around half of drivers leaving the industry. If they are sacked by one TOC they'll probably join another TOC, unless they are due to retire soon. Alternative work could easily see them having to manage on a 50% pay cut, unless there's a huge demand for airline pilots, investment bankers or CEOs for big corporations.

What do you think the benefit of joining another TOC is, if all TOCs eventually end up imposing MSL law? You may have noticed that the vast majority of TOCs have signalled they will not be enforcing this draconian law in the upcoming strike, which seems an eminently sensible approach if they want to retain some semblance of acceptable staff relations. If you don't think this is a good approach then you clearly don't understand how the railway works and how much is run on goodwill.
 
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martin2345uk

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Do you 'need' to shoot down people fighting their cause? Or indirectly criticise aslef's strategy which is the same thing.

From checking out your online profile I can with 99% surety say you've applied to be a driver and failed.

Keep the faith, one day you may be amongst us.
Come now, I don't think it does anyone any favours to start accusing anyone who disagrees with the action a failed wannabe driver (speaking as a driver myself) and I am 99.99% sure that Sebastian harbours no train driving ambitions.
Much better to all be civil if we can :D
 

TT-ONR-NRN

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From checking out your online profile I can with 99% surety say you've applied to be a driver and failed.

Keep the faith, one day you may be amongst us.
You what? :lol: It has never, ever occurred to me that I should discard my undergraduate and Masters' degrees in Journalism and give up my career progression in the broadcasting industry to join the railway as a driver, but then you wouldn't have known that, because you don't know me, and therefore shouldn't make sweeping assumptions. :) A wonderful job, but not for me. I don't have the concentration!

Come now, I don't think it does anyone any favours to start accusing anyone who disagrees with the action a failed wannabe driver (speaking as a driver myself) and I am 99.99% sure that Sebastian harbours no train driving ambitions.
Much better to all be civil if we can :D
I appreciate the support, though as half the forum know me by my middle name (more informal), you've probably gone and confused everyone by using my disgustingly poncey first name now :lol: Could just call me TT-whatsit, that became popular a few years ago ;)

I beg we now return to the strikes!
 
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12LDA28C

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Surely not many will be sacked, as you'd think if drivers knew they'd be sacked for not coming in then they'd turn up rather than let themselves get dismissed? Would be a case of cutting off the nose quite brutally to spite the face?

I'd certainly hope not but my point is that if TOCs start implementing the harsh letter of the law the whole thing will become very messy very quickly. The fact that the vast majority of TOCs have intoned they will not be imposing MSL for the forthcoming strikes speaks volumes.
 

bwlv9

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Come now, I don't think it does anyone any favours to start accusing anyone who disagrees with the action a failed wannabe driver (speaking as a driver myself) and I am 99.99% sure that Sebastian harbours no train driving ambitions.
Much better to all be civil if we can :D
Sorry but as much as I like to see both sides of any argument..here we have people endorsing anti worker policies.

This Tory party that has made a complete mess of everything! If you're not a wealthy business owner -which not many of this community are. I cannot see any other reason to be endorsing or supporting their policies apart from people who are bitter.

I completely understand industrial action inconveniences people and that really is regrettable, however it's a necessary evil and is what has gained you and many others on here (including the ones not in the railway industry) a well paid job with conditions and protections.
 

43066

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Thank you very much for the explanation :) A swings and roundabout situation then, as while the MSLs mitigate the effects of the strike, in order to counteract this the strikes are being lengthened. Not sure if that's more or less helpful to either side, to be honest...

I agree, it isn’t going to be remotely helpful to anybody, least of all the travelling public. It isn’t intended to be, though. This is all about the government wanting to appear to be getting tough on the unions. And why would anyone imagine this government would do a competent job of that?!

You’ve completely twisted what I said to interpet it as something it isn’t.

With respect, I haven’t. You’ve seemingly misunderstood my position.

As for suggesting that it may not be legal, correct I am suggesting that. ASLEF have form for it, an injunction was made against them over Gatwick Express DOO, so we absolutely cannot put it past ASLEF to attempt to take action beyond their remit again.

Well, as I said earlier, the only person I’ve seen suggesting that ASLEF’s action may be illegal is you. This government also has form for getting things spectacularly legally wrong…

I don’t think there’s any merit in us discussing it further, so suggest we agree to disagree. If LNER get injunctive relief against ASLEF for the five day action, on the basis the strike lacks a lawful mandate, I’ll happily concede you were right.


Striking because they don't like the law is dangerous ground. Firstly, a strike has to be against the employer not the government, so it could lead to court action against ASLEF. Secondly, every trade union expects every employer to comply with the law when it comes to employment legislation. If they don't, then they aren't ensuring their members get their full employment rights.

Luckily that isn’t what’s happening on LNER. They’re striking in furtherance of a legitimate industrial dispute.

You what? :lol: It has never, ever occurred to me that I should discard my undergraduate and Masters' degrees in Journalism and give up my career progression in the broadcasting industry to join the railway as a driver

From experience (and we’re veering well off topic), it’s good to get yourself well qualified at your stage of life in order to maximise options. You can always drive trains later if you get fed up with the first industries you forge a career in ;).
 

TT-ONR-NRN

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I'd certainly hope not but my point is that if TOCs start implementing the harsh letter of the law the whole thing will become very messy very quickly. The fact that the vast majority of TOCs have intoned they will not be imposing MSL for the forthcoming strikes speaks volumes.
I'd be willing to bet it's only because LNER are effectively 100% the government that they've done it. First/Abellio/Arriva probably won't dare. I was reading that Southeastern OLR also came very close to upholding them, but then seemingly changed their mind.

From experience (and we’re veering well off topic), it’s good to get yourself well qualified at your stage of life in order to maximise options. You can always drive trains later if you get fed up with the first industries you forge a career in ;).
I don't have a good enough attention span :lol: I'd end up causing an accident or shooting through a booked station :lol::oops:
 

yorksrob

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I'd be willing to bet it's only because LNER are effectively 100% the government that they've done it. First/Abellio/Arriva probably won't dare.


I don't have a good enough attention span :lol: I'd end up causing an accident or shooting through a booked station :lol::oops:

Spot on. Done at the behest of a lousy, untrustworthy government with no mandate to govern.
 

DanNCL

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I don’t think there’s any merit in us discussing it further, so suggest we agree to disagree.
Agreed :)

Spot on. Done at the behest of a lousy, untrustworthy government with no mandate to govern.
No mandate to govern and actively doing whatever they can to make it impossible for Labour to fix everything within the five years they'll have after the next general election.
 
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Govia Thameslink Railway announced service for Tuesday 30 January so I assume they are not using the Minimum Service legislation.
The ASLEF union has announced that strike action by their members will take place on 30 January, affecting Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink & Great Northern.
Service summary and travel advice for Tuesday 30 January
Very limited shuttle services will be in operation on this day, as listed below. No other Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink or Great Northern services will be running.
Southern shuttle service calling at Gatwick Airport and London Victoria only
Thameslink shuttle service calling at St Pancras, Luton Airport Parkway and Luton only
Thameslink shuttle service calling at London Kings Cross and Cambridge only
These services will be running to limited operating hours and will be extremely busy. Queueing systems will be in place, and you may not be able to board your chosen service. If you are planning to travel on one of the last trains of the day, please be aware that, depending on the size of the queue, you may not be able to board a service at all, and no alternative transport options will be provided after the last train departs. Please plan ahead and leave plenty of time to reach your destination.
 

paul1609

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Im not a conservative supporter but it would appear to me that they are legally the government, I'm not sure what other perceived mandate they are supposed to have or why if they don't have it, it's not been challenged in the courts by the opposition parties?
 

yorksrob

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Im not a conservative supporter but it would appear to me that they are legally the government, I'm not sure what other perceived mandate they are supposed to have or why if they don't have it, it's not been challenged in the courts by the opposition parties?

They lost their mandate after the Truss fiasco

In any other scenario they would have lost the confidence of their electorate.

As the opposition parties have rightly pointed out, they are squatters who should have gone to the people long ago.
 

Failed Unit

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Govia Thameslink Railway announced service for Tuesday 30 January so I assume they are not using the Minimum Service legislation.
Interesting, London - Cambridge non-stop? I guess even with 12 car trains they probably don’t think they could cope with demand. But Cambridge has alternative services.
 

paul1609

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They lost their mandate after the Truss fiasco

In any other scenario they would have lost the confidence of their electorate.

As the opposition parties have rightly pointed out, they are squatters who should have gone to the people long ago.
In an idealistic world maybe, but legally no. Have the opposition parties tabled a vote of no confidence? If your not going to operate under parliamentary democracy you risk ultimately a Putin situation.
 

irish_rail

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You what? :lol: It has never, ever occurred to me that I should discard my undergraduate and Masters' degrees in Journalism and give up my career progression in the broadcasting industry to join the railway as a driver, but then you wouldn't have known that, because you don't know me, and therefore shouldn't make sweeping assumptions. :) A wonderful job, but not for me. I don't have the concentration!


I appreciate the support, though as half the forum know me by my middle name (more informal), you've probably gone and confused everyone by using my disgustingly poncey first name now :lol: Could just call me TT-whatsit, that became popular a few years ago ;)

I beg we now return to the strikes!
I'm sorry I had to laugh out loud at the first bit of your post. I was chatting to another Plymouth driver recently, and do you know what? he has a degree in Journalism! Turns out it wasn't all it cracked up to be and he went down the train driving road. And he also pointed out he earns more now than every single person on his degree course who stuck with journalism! So don't be writing off train driving too quick!
 

jfollows

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What I want to know is - what is the point of passing a law meant to minimise the extent of ASLEF's action, if there is an enormous backlash when the law is then followed? Is it even legal to effectively punish a TOC for following the law? Is it legal to strike more intensively than MSLs set out? What are the repercussions?
Because the point of passing the law was that act primarily, so the the Conservatives can say that they have done “something” and point to actual legislation. The fact that it’s bad law and won’t work is a secondary consideration.
 

yorksrob

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In an idealistic world maybe, but legally no. Have the opposition parties tabled a vote of no confidence? If your not going to operate under parliamentary democracy you risk ultimately a Putin situation.

The opposition parties couldn't table a motion of no confidence - there aren't enough of them.

That's probably a weakness in our constitution - there's no one who can dismiss a renegade government (theoretically the Monarch could but in reality it would impinge on his neutrality).

Realistically all Conservative Mp's should have asked themselves after the Truss fiasco whether their Government had the confidence of the electorate. They should have tested it.
 

whoosh

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I believe the 'Minimum Service Levels law' applies if Work notices are issued.

It doesn't say they MUST be issued, but that Work Notices CAN be issued to provide 40% of the service on a strike day.

LNER is apparently taking up the option.
ASLEF's response is not a protest against that law, but it is an escalation of the existing dispute because the option of using that law is being exercised.


Of course, this has been the government's plan the whole time:
•To get the entire rail industry out on strike to go, "Look how inconvenient strikes are!";
•Make legislation to deal with this 'problem';
•Settle the disputes with most of the rail industry, just leaving the "greedy drivers" (so greedy they agreed to 0% for two years in a row in 2020 and 2021, but let's not mention that);
•Not make the same offer to them as was made to RMT in December 2023 which would've ended the action;
•And then use the new legislation to successfully run 40% of trains on a strike day and save the country from the greedy unions (who wouldn't even have been on strike if genuine negotiations had taken place).
 

43066

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I don't have a good enough attention span :lol: I'd end up causing an accident or shooting through a booked station :lol::oops:

None of that need be a bar, and could even be a path to management ;) (joking aside you’re right that truly epic levels of concentration are required for the driver role, in particular).

For all the negativity of the current dispute, which will pass, it’s a fascinating yet gloriously dysfunctional industry to work in, with some extraordinary characters. They do say, if you last six months on the railway, you’ll be here forever…


GTR struggle to deal with the overtime ban so having to prepare a MSL service isn't likely to be at the top of their to do list

That sounds like rather less than 40% of GTR’s normal service, and they’re the UK’s largest operator, which really suggests that the warnings of this legislation being unworkable are already proving accurate.

Quelle surprise. This industry struggles to deal with anything other than a glacial pace of change, and has an uncanny ability to utterly cock up anything “new”. MSLs will be no exception.

It’ll be fascinating to see what LNER do end up managing to run.
 
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Val3ntine

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ASLEF have publicly said the extra five days are in relation to pay. But several on these forums are saying it’s because of LNER’s use of the minimum service legislation. If it’s the latter as many here are suggesting, that’s not what the current strike mandate is for so ASLEF would need a new one.

Why are you complicating this so much? The bit highlighted in bold is pretty clear cut.
 

FenMan

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Here is the solution to the problem. It is this government that needs to negotiate with Aslef and stop putting their heads into the sand. Mark Harper is a useless Transport secretary.

Mark Harper probably isn't useless (I've yet to see any Failing Grayling tendencies - now he really was useless).

But. Harper is in charge of Transport, a spending department. Now, Sunak & Hunt are extremely aware that UKGov's finances are in a terrible state, but also that money has to be found to fund tax cuts in a bid to save their skins at the next election, hence the pressure on the spending departments.

Harper, quite sensibly from his perspective, wants to save his skin too, so pushing back on the Treasury's financial demands in order to placate ASLEF will not be at the top of his list of priorities, to say the very least. So the stand-off will continue, possibly to be enlivened by LNER being "encouraged" to seek an injunction to stop ASLEF in its tracks (so to speak). We'll find out soon enough.

However, my view is ASLEF's hope of finding an incoming Labour administration to be more amenable may come to very little, as the fundamental problem would still exist, namely that the railway currently is living beyond its means to the extent that continually increasing taxpayer-funded subsidy to keep the show on the road is no longer politically sustainable, given other very expensive priorities such as sorting out the NHS and the Care crisis, not to mention the enfeebled state of our armed forces in an increasingly dangerous world.

That means a leaner and more productive structure for the railway is a political imperative. It's going to be a bumpy ride (sorry - couldn't resist), particularly for a sector where the industrial relations climate has been getting increasingly toxic. Nevertheless, the imperative will not go away.
 

TT-ONR-NRN

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Why are you complicating this so much? The bit highlighted in bold is pretty clear cut.
To be fair, what is said and what is the truth is not always the same. And I’m not targetting ASLEF specifically there, I’m saying in general, statements often say what is the least damaging. Think of Buckingham Palace, Government, big companies, celebrities, etc.
 

Killingworth

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My union days are long over in another industry but I fail to see how implementing the MSR legislation is going to help LNER, government , customers, drivers or the industry. Or perhaps it might.

During a ban on overtime and work to rule I recall a manager calling all his staff together and demanding they all said there and then who was going to obey the union's instructions. Brilliant move! They all said they would, including the non union members - and they all did too, rigidly.

Customer service suffered badly. Most other managers took a far less confrontational stance and service to customers there was little impacted. After weeks that dragged into months a few pockets of staunch resistance remained, the staff there under considerable pressure from management and customers. The employer finally conceded. Many rules were then changed to reduce their potential impact in future. Focus on avoiding overtime, much of which had been done voluntarily at short notice, sometimes without payment, became intense.

As I see it, LNER have put themselves forward as the guinea pigs for a full frontal confrontation with the MSL. Consequently ASLEF are putting LNER drivers in the firing line for all. So far they have only called one day strikes across almost all TOCs. LNER are now confronted with a full week. It's a dispute about pay - and conditions.

In my view MSL is unworkable as long as workers stick together, which I'd expect them to do. Once that's seen it should concentrate minds to find resolution.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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Mark Harper probably isn't useless (I've yet to see any Failing Grayling tendencies - now he really was useless).

But. Harper is in charge of Transport, a spending department. Now, Sunak & Hunt are extremely aware that UKGov's finances are in a terrible state, but also that money has to be found to fund tax cuts in a bid to save their skins at the next election, hence the pressure on the spending departments.

Harper, quite sensibly from his perspective, wants to save his skin too, so pushing back on the Treasury's financial demands in order to placate ASLEF will not be at the top of his list of priorities, to say the very least. So the stand-off will continue, possibly to be enlivened by LNER being "encouraged" to seek an injunction to stop ASLEF in its tracks (so to speak). We'll find out soon enough.

However, my view is ASLEF's hope of finding an incoming Labour administration to be more amenable may come to very little, as the fundamental problem would still exist, namely that the railway currently is living beyond its means to the extent that continually increasing taxpayer-funded subsidy to keep the show on the road is no longer politically sustainable, given other very expensive priorities such as sorting out the NHS and the Care crisis, not to mention the enfeebled state of our armed forces in an increasingly dangerous world.

That means a leaner and more productive structure for the railway is a political imperative. It's going to be a bumpy ride (sorry - couldn't resist), particularly for a sector where the industrial relations climate has been getting increasingly toxic. Nevertheless, the imperative will not go away.
ASLEF have a mandate to take action so can't see on what grounds LNER would be seeking an injunction. The MSL just removes certain rights from workers under the 1992 act and gives the employer, LNER in this case, the ability to take action against individuals in accordance with its employment procedures.
 

FenMan

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ASLEF have a mandate to take action so can't see on what grounds LNER would be seeking an injunction. The MSL just removes certain rights from workers under the 1992 act and gives the employer, LNER in this case, the ability to take action against individuals in accordance with its employment procedures.

That part of my post is pure speculation. It may not happen, however I'm pretty sure DfT lawyers will have been tasked with hunting for grounds to do exactly this. Even if thrown out by a court, it'd still be a "win" for this Government as they'd make very sure that their client journalists at the Mail, etc, would make lots of noise about Starmer, Labour and the unions being in lockstep to "do down Britain".

This is visible from space!
 
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Sutton in Ant

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Mark Harper probably isn't useless (I've yet to see any Failing Grayling tendencies - now he really was useless).

But. Harper is in charge of Transport, a spending department. Now, Sunak & Hunt are extremely aware that UKGov's finances are in a terrible state, but also that money has to be found to fund tax cuts in a bid to save their skins at the next election, hence the pressure on the spending departments.

Harper, quite sensibly from his perspective, wants to save his skin too, so pushing back on the Treasury's financial demands in order to placate ASLEF will not be at the top of his list of priorities, to say the very least. So the stand-off will continue, possibly to be enlivened by LNER being "encouraged" to seek an injunction to stop ASLEF in its tracks (so to speak). We'll find out soon enough.

However, my view is ASLEF's hope of finding an incoming Labour administration to be more amenable may come to very little, as the fundamental problem would still exist, namely that the railway currently is living beyond its means to the extent that continually increasing taxpayer-funded subsidy to keep the show on the road is no longer politically sustainable, given other very expensive priorities such as sorting out the NHS and the Care crisis, not to mention the enfeebled state of our armed forces in an increasingly dangerous world.

That means a leaner and more productive structure for the railway is a political imperative. It's going to be a bumpy ride (sorry - couldn't resist), particularly for a sector where the industrial relations climate has been getting increasingly toxic. Nevertheless, the imperative will not go away.
I understand what you are saying but if the Unions and Government were to come to a compromise? Then a deal could be on the table and the end of these strikes.
 

FenMan

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I understand what you are saying but if the Unions and Government were to come to a compromise? Then a deal could be on the table and the end of these strikes.

No chance, unless ASLEF capitulates (unlikely). Also, there's another long-running dispute with a group of workers that in recent memory were being described as "heroes" - NHS junior doctors.

There's no chance whatsoever of a "compromise" with ASLEF while the doctors' dispute is unresolved. If train drivers were to be favoured over "heroic" NHS workers, the optics would be terrible for the Government. The electorate would notice, increasing the chances of punishment beatings being handed out at the next election. This Government may be a motley crew at best, but they aren't THAT stupid.
 

dctraindriver

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I'm sorry I had to laugh out loud at the first bit of your post. I was chatting to another Plymouth driver recently, and do you know what? he has a degree in Journalism! Turns out it wasn't all it cracked up to be and he went down the train driving road. And he also pointed out he earns more now than every single person on his degree course who stuck with journalism! So don't be writing off train driving too quick!
Journalism isn’t a great paying job, but it’s not always about the money…. I enjoyed being a journo all those years ago. Wouldn’t do it now. Pity the client journos.
 
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