UK train drivers at 8 rail companies to strike on July 30, union says

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Branding promoting the LNER rail operator is seen at Kings Cross Station in London

LONDON (Reuters) -Train drivers at eight British rail companies will strike on July 30 over a pay dispute, the drivers’ union ASLEF said on Thursday in the latest industrial action sparked by demands for wages to keep pace with soaring inflation.

The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) said it had announced the day of strike action after train companies failed to make a pay offer that matched the increased cost of living.

"Strike action is, now, the only option available but we are always open to talks if the train companies, or the government, want to talk to us and make a fair and sensible offer," General Secretary Mick Whelan said in an emailed statement.

ASLEF said its members at eight companies – Arriva Rail London, Chiltern Railways, Greater Anglia, Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, Southeastern and West Midlands Trains – would strike.

“It’s incredibly disappointing that, just three days after their ballots closed, ASLEF bosses have already opted for destructive strike action, instead of engaging in constructive talks," Britain's transport minister Grant Shapps said.

The latest strike action by ASLEF follows the announcement of a 24-hour walkout by some staff from two other rail unions - the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) - that will take place on July 27.

The growing catalogue of industrial unrest leaves travellers facing further disruption this summer after tens of thousands of striking workers brought Britain's rail network close to a standstill last month.

(Reporting by Muvija M and Farouq Suleiman; editing by William James)

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