Arriva Trains Wales
Train drivers' union Aslef claimed the company's salary offer was unacceptableCreative Commons/Flickr/Elliott Brown

Thousands of commuters returning from the Christmas break could be hit by disruptions after drivers for Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) voted for a 24-hour strike. The Aslef members backed the 4 January walkout by 81.7% on a turnout of more than 80%.

The protest is part of a pay and work conditions row between the employees and the company. The train drivers' union accused ATW's latest salary offering of being unacceptable.

"The general secretary be instructed to advise the HR director of Arriva Trains Wales that their failure to make an acceptable 2015 pay offer is not acceptable," Aslef's executive committee said. "Further, the general secretary be instructed to advise the HR director, Arriva Trains Wales, that all our driver members employed by ATW will be withdrawing their labour from 00.01 to 23.59 on the 4 January 2016.

"Further, the general secretary be instructed to advise the HR director, Arriva Trains Wales, that all our members employed by Arriva Trains Wales will not work non contractual overtime from 00.01hrs on Monday 28 December 2015 until further notice."

But Gareth Thomas, human resources director for ATW, said: "We are disappointed that train driver union members have rejected the current offer of increased pay and improved terms and conditions by supporting a ballot for industrial action.

"ATW management will do all it can to avert this unnecessary threat of imposed disruption to our customers and we are continuing an open and constructive dialogue with union representatives.

"Dates for talks between ATW management and union executives have been offered during week commencing 21 December, when we hope to resolve this dispute. Our immediate focus is to negotiate the soonest possible agreement with the unions regarding train drivers conditions so that, together, we can keep our promise to our customers."