The chaos of train and metro strikes is sadly not over, with further industrial action set to take place today, Saturday 30th July.
Only one in ten trains will be able to run during the Aslef strike on July 30, worse than the one in five trains that continued to run during the three days of RMT action in June. It is the first national strike since 1995.
Commuters were thrown into chaos when the railway strikes took place on July 27. More woes await, however, with more strikes planned for the summer – and another strike announced in August.
Despite being offered a 5 per cent pay rise, significant discounts on train travel for family members and cash bonuses of up to £900 each to prevent further strikes, members of the Railway, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) union (RMT) ran away again on 27 July.
Less than 48 hours later, the Aslef train drivers’ union will go on strike for pay, while the RMT has announced two more days of strike on August 18 and 20, affecting 14 train operators and Network Rail and involving 40,000 employees.
Members of the Transport Salried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), which represents station and ticket office workers, also supported union action, which saw workers from the Southeast go on strike over pay, job security and conditions.
At the end of July, the ballot boxes for strike action at Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry and Direct Rail Services will close.
Mick Whelan, Aslef general secretary, said: “We don’t want to go on strike – strikes are the result of a failure of negotiations – and this union has been on strike since I was elected GS in 2011, until this year, for a few days.
“But we have been forced into this position by the train companies, driven by the Tory government. The drivers at the companies where we strike have had a real pay cut in the past three years – since April 2019.”
Here’s what you need to know about the RMT and Aslef strikes this weekend and other potential union strike actions.
On which days are there train and metro strikes?
- Saturday July 30
- Saturday 13 August
- Thursday, August 18
- Friday, August 19 (Pipe Strike)
- Saturday 20 August
On July 14, Aslef announced that train drivers would depart on Saturday, July 30, leaving only one in ten trains running.
On August 13, 18 and 20, three more RMT strikes will take place in a protest against job security, wages and working conditions.
Which train operators are affected?
Arriva Rail London, Chiltern Railways, Greater Anglia, Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, Southeastern and West Midlands Trains will be affected by the July 30 Aslef strikes.
Southeastern, which is wholly owned by the Department for Transport (DfT) and operates train services between London and Kent, as well as parts of East Sussex, will be affected by the TSSA strikes. Stations potentially affected include London St Pancras, Victoria, Charing Cross and Cannon Street, as well as Dover Priory, Ramsgate, Ashford International, Dartford and Sevenoaks.
The RMT train strikes in August affect Network Rail and the following operators: Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Northern Trains, South Eastern, South Western Railway Transpennine Express , Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains and GTR (including Gatwick Express).
The TSSA is also currently voting members at West Midlands Trains, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, TransPennine Express for industrial action.
Is there a Tube strike?
The London Underground came to a standstill 24 hours a day on June 21 as RMT members decided to strike in a row over how Transport for London is cutting operating costs.
The RMT announced another Tube strike on August 19.
RMT leader Mick Lynch said: “Our members will once again choose the picket lines in this important dispute over pensions, jobs and benefits.
“They have been confused by TfL and Mayor Sadiq Khan. Unless guarantees can be given about jobs, pensions and adverse changes in working conditions, our strike will continue on August 19.”
Meanwhile, the nighttime action continues to affect Central, Jubilee, Northern and Victoria lines every Friday and Saturday through December 6.
Why are employees on strike?
The Aslef strikes are all about wages. Mr Whelan states that members have not had a pay rise since 2019.
“We want an increase in line with the cost of living – we want to be able to buy in 2022 what we could buy in 2021 – for those members – who, as you recall, were the people who moved key workers and goods around the world. country during the pandemic,” he said.
The August RMT train strikes (and the July 27 rail strike) are the latest in the union dispute over job security, wages and working conditions. Mr Lynch said: “The rail industry and the government need to understand that this dispute will not just go away.
“They should be serious about providing a wage offer that helps address the crisis in the cost of living, job security for our members and good working conditions.
“Recent proposals from Network Rail fall far short in the area of wages and safety around maintenance work. And the train companies have not even made us a wage offer in recent negotiations.
“We remain open to negotiations, but we will continue our campaign until we reach a negotiated settlement.”
The August Tube strike is over an ongoing dispute over pensions and jobs. The RMT said this call to action was “spurred on by TfL’s refusal to share the details of a government draft proposal they received regarding funding for the transport system in the capital.”
Meanwhile, TSSA members protest over pay, jobs and conditions.
“If ministers had any sense, they would come to the table to sort this out so that we have a fair settlement for workers hailed as heroes during the pandemic,” said TSSA Secretary General Manuel Cortes.
Can I get a refund or travel on another service if my train is cancelled?
According to consumer group Which? the process differs depending on which train company someone travels with and customers can only “claim compensation for a delay in the event of a train strike based on the replacement or emergency timetable for train or replacement bus services”.
What is the government doing about it?
The government has already 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 draft the new laws.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary who has dropped out of the race to become the next Tory leader, was quick to condemn the strikes.
“With a salary of almost £60,000, it is not fair for train drivers to hurt those with lower wages with more strikes,” he wrote on Twitter.
This article is kept up to date with the latest information.