More than 90pc of train services across Britain could be canceled later this summer as drivers threaten their first national walkout since 1995.
Aslef, the drivers’ union, will vote on industrial action at 10 train companies to coincide with similar action by the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), which represents station and ticket office workers.
It follows industrial action by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union last month, which sparked the biggest disruption on British railways in a generation.
Mick Whelan, head of Aslef, warned of “massive” disruption, telling the Financial Times: “It will be far more disruptive than it has been in the past. We do not go on strike very often.”
A walkout by Aslef members would be particularly damaging as contingency plans do not allow for the drafting in of emergency train drivers to any significant degree.
It comes after The Telegraph reported that the unions could coordinate strike action over the summer in a move that would leave just one in 10 trains running and cause disruption for days on end.
Even if there are gaps between strikes, passengers face reduced service on so-called “shoulder days” when only 60pc of trains typically run.
Mr Whelan said three of the train companies had already voted in favor of a strike. A result from the remaining ballots, alongside a vote for TSSA members at Network Rail, is due in the next two weeks.
TSSA members at Avanti West Coast voted in favor of industrial action last week.
The Government has threatened new minimum service requirements that would require a certain number of trains to run during a strike. However, ministers have warned it could take months to draw up the new laws.
A Government spokesman fully said: “We want to see rail unions engaging with their employers, instead aslef are first seeking to cause further misery to passengers by joining others in disrupting the rail network.
“The rail industry is in desperate need of modernisation to make it work better for passengers and be financially sustainable for the long term.”