Trains drivers have held pickets to pressure the government to raise pay, as a day of strike action across the south affected the majority of South Western Railway (SWR) routes. 

The Wednesday strikes were part of a schedule of industrial action called by ASLEF, the UK union representing train drivers. 

People were advised to only travel “if absolutely necessary,” with trains only running on five routes, four of which were to London Waterloo, with Basingstoke to Salisbury being the other. 

A group of train drivers held a picket at Northam train depot in Southampton, all of whom are represented by ASLEF. The union told the Echo at the time: “It’s a cold morning for our pickets across the south today but they are standing strong.”

“Our membership is sending a clear message, they will not accept an erosion to their Terms & Conditions by this government,” they said.

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The strike has been criticised by some, with one X - formerly Twitter - user writing to SWR’s helpline: “All striking staff should be sacked immediately [...] Unbelievably selfish.”

The union rejected a “risible” 4% pay rise in April, and have said that they haven’t heard from train employers since this offer was made. 

The other largest UK union representing the train industry, RMT, accepted a pay offer last week, but ASLEF’s dispute with the government continues. 

Graham Morris, the union’s district organiser, told the Echo: “Our members across London and the South of England joined in strike action in support of our campaign for a pay rise. Some members have not seen their pay increase for 4 years now.

"The train operators and Government are responsible for today’s strikes as they refuse to sit down and negotiate a settlement to the long running dispute."

Southampton’s Trades Union Council was in attendance at the picket, and its secretary, Declan Clune, told the Echo: “Southampton TUC gives its full support to ASLEF members striking to defend their pay and working conditions.

"We do not accept that any worker should see their living standards fall when huge profits are being made by UK PLC.”

Stuart Meek, the Chief Operating Officer of SWR, said: “We know that this is a busy time of year as we approach Christmas, so we would like to thank customers for their continued patience and understanding.”