Commuters speak to staff members as barriers block the entrance to Elizabeth Line at Paddington station in London on January 12, 2023 amid a new strike by rail workers. Image Credit: AFP

London: Britain’s ASLEF train drivers’ union said on Tuesday it had rejected a pay offer and its members would take fresh strike action on Feb. 1 and 3.

Earlier this month, rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group said it had offered ASLEF an improved pay offer in exchange for reforms to how the railways are run, in a bid to end a long-running industrial dispute.

“The proposal is not and could not ever be acceptable but we are willing to engage in further discussions,” ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said in a statement.

“They want to rip up our terms and conditions in return for a real-terms pay cut.” The Rail Delivery Group had said the offer included a backdated pay increase of 4% for 2022 followed by a further 4% pay rise in 2023, and a commitment to no compulsory redundancies over the next year.

However, it also included what the body described as “vital and long overdue” changes to working arrangements, including to Sunday shifts and training.

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said it was disappointing the offer had not been put to the union’s members.

“Rather than announcing further unnecessary strikes, we ask ASLEF to recognise the very real financial challenge the industry is facing and work with us to deliver a better railway with a strong long-term future,” the spokesperson said.

Teachers and 100,000 other public sector workers, including border force staff, are also due to walk out on Feb. 1 in disputes over pay.