Standing strong on the train drivers picket line in Colchester in December (Picture: @BarryH_71 on Twitter)

Train drivers’ union Aslef has announced a series of fresh strikes and an overtime ban in the long running dispute over pay.

Rail bosses could now move to use the new anti‑union law that demands unions police minimum service levels—enforced scabbing—during strikes.

The law says workers must offer 40 percent of normal services during transport walkouts.

Aslef members are set for a rolling programme of one‑day strikes from 30 January to 5 February and plan to ban overtime for nine days from 29 January.

Workers in Aslef have held 15 one-day strikes so far. Another one-day action is very unlikely to shake the companies and the government.

The union said it wanted to put pressure on ­“intransigent” train operating companies as well as the “tone-deaf Tory government”.

It demands that train drivers their first pay rise in almost five years.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said, “We have given the government every opportunity to come to the table but it has now been a year since we had any contact from the Department for Transport.

“It’s clear they do not want to resolve this dispute.

“Many of our members have not had a single penny increase to their pay for half a decade, during which time inflation has soared and, with it, the cost of living.

“The Tory government has now tried its old trick of changing the rules. When they couldn’t win they brought in minimum service levels legislation.

“But this new law, as we told officials during the consultation period, won’t ease industrial strife. It will just make it worse.”

That isn’t the same as saying that Aslef will defy the laws and tell all its members to strike.

But without confrontation the law will quickly become normalised.

The TUC union federation has organised a demonstration over the anti-union laws in Cheltenham on 27 January.

The Tories banned unions at Cheltenham’s GCHQ spy centre in 1984.

The rally has to send out a clear message that every union will actively support workers and unions that refuse to accept the attacks on the right to strike.

The strike programme

Tue 30 Jan: Southeastern, GTR Southern/Gatwick Express, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, SWR Island Line, and South Western Railway main line and depot drivers.

Wed 31 Jan: Northern Trains and TransPennine Trains.

Fri 2 Feb: C2C, Greater Anglia, and LNER.

Sat 3 Feb: Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, and West Midlands Trains

Mon 5 Feb: Chiltern, CrossCountry, and GWR

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