Birmingham train strikes: What you need to know as rail services are cancelled for May bank holiday

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Rail passengers are being warned of disruption during the week of the May Bank Holiday after drivers announced more strikes and an overtime ban.

Rail passengers across Birmingham are set to face disruption during the May Bank Holiday week due to a series of train strikes over pay disputes.

Members of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef) union have announced strike action on May 7, 8, and 9.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Drivers will first strike at c2c, Greater Anglia, Great Northern, Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express and South Western Railway on Tuesday 7 May.

It will be followed by a 24-hour walkout at Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway and West Midlands Trains on Wednesday 8 May; and at LNER, Northern and TransPennine Express on Thursday 9 May.

Which train services are affected by the strike that will impact Birmingham?

Strikes affecting services in the West Midlands are planned to take place on May 8 and will impact:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • Chiltern Railways
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Great Western Railway
  • West Midlands Trains

Members of the Aslef union will also ban overtime for six days from May 6.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There is currently no update on whether Birmingham New Street Station would close or stay open as a result of ASLEF strikes.

Aslef has announced new walkout dates for April Aslef has announced new walkout dates for April
Aslef has announced new walkout dates for April | Getty

What is the purpose of the dispute?

The union claims that drivers have not received a pay increase in five years , with their last pay deal expiring in 2019.

Negotiations with train operating companies and the government have been stalled for over a year, leading the union to accuse ministers of "giving up" on resolving the dispute.

Little progress has been made in solving the row between Aslef and the rail companies since the union first started striking in July 2022.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What are the details of the pay deal?

The most recent pay deal was rejected almost a year ago in April 2023.

The Aslef union’s general secretary, Mick Whelan, said: “It is now a year since we sat in a room with the train companies – and a year since we rejected the risible offer they made and which they admitted, privately, was designed to be rejected.”

The offer included 4% pay rises for two years in a row, on condition that drivers would accept industry-wide changes to training, and negotiate changes to work patterns at individual operators.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The Transport Secretary and rail minister have done their part to facilitate this pay offer, – one which would take train drivers’ salaries up to an average of £65,000 which is almost twice the average salary in the UK.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Strikes affecting services in the West Midlands are planned to take place on May 8 Strikes affecting services in the West Midlands are planned to take place on May 8
Strikes affecting services in the West Midlands are planned to take place on May 8 | Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

When were the previous strikes?

The last series of train strikes took place during the first and second weeks of April.

The upcoming strikes and overtime ban are likely to cause disruption to rail services, in the Birmingham area.

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators, said: “This wholly unnecessary strike action called by the Aslef leadership will sadly disrupt customers and businesses once again, while further damaging the railway at a time when taxpayers are continuing to contribute an extra £54m a week just to keep services running.”

What should I do if I need to travel by train?

If you have to travel, make sure you check the latest information before you go, and allow more time for your journey.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

You can use the National Rail Enquiries website or app to plan your journey and see if there are any delays or cancellations. You can also follow the train operators on social media for updates.

Anyone with a ticket that clashes with the industrial action will be able to use their ticket on a different day or claim a refund, so keep your tickets and receipts.

Visit National Rail for the latest travel information.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.