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Train strikes Dates and all you need to know ahead of next rail walk-outs

Train strikes: Dates and all you need to know ahead of next rail walk-outs

A series of strikes might cause the cancellation of trains for passengers seeking to take the train to the FA Cup Final and the Eurovision Song Contest. More walkouts have been scheduled for May and June by the RMT, the main rail union, and Aslef, the union for train drivers. More than a dozen train operators, including all of the major long-distance and commuter rail companies, will suspend operations.

On May 12, May 31, and June 3, drivers who work for more than a dozen railway operators will strike. There will also be a ban on overtime.

On Saturday, May 13, members of the RMT who work for 14 railway operators are going on strike.

Passengers trying to go to Liverpool for the Eurovision Song Contest’s grand finale on Saturday, May 13, will be affected by the walk-outs. Among the train companies impacted are Northern, TransPennine Express, and Avanti West Coast.

The FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Manchester City, which will be held at Wembley in northwest London, will take place on June 3. Tens of thousands of spectators would often take the train to the game. It will also have an impact on visitors to the Epsom Derby.

Tens of millions of train passengers have experienced issues as a result of nationwide rail strikes that began in June 2022 due to a tangle of disagreements about salary, job security, and working conditions. Stoppages have been called often, resulting in significant disruption and making it hard to plan ahead for travel.

In the most recent round of strikes, the biggest rail union, the RMT, has called for walkouts on 24 days, while Aslef has previously called for eight such stops.

These are the main inquiries and responses.

Who and when are striking?

All of Aslef’s train driver members who work for 16 railway operators have been told to go on strike on Friday, May 12, Wednesday, May 31, and Saturday, June 3.

The Department of Transportation hired the railroad companies. They consist of the top intercity carriers:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Great Western Railway
  • LNER
  • TransPennine Express

Additionally impacted will be the vast majority of London’s commuter operators:

  • Greater Anglia
  • GTR (Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern, Thameslink)
  • Southeastern
  • South Western Railway

It will have an impact on operators serving the Midlands and northern England:

  • Chiltern Railways
  • Northern Trains
  • West Midlands Trains

Additionally, “non-contractual overtime” will be prohibited on Saturday, May 13, from Monday, May 15, to Saturday, May 20, inclusive, and on Thursday, June 1.

On Saturday, May 13, members of the RMT union will go on strike. With the advent of the c2c, which travels from the City of London to south Essex, the same train operators will be engaged.

What will happen as a result?

Network train signalling employees have walked out throughout several of the RMT’s past strikes, shutting down at least half of the train network.

The network’s infrastructure should be operational as usual now that they have settled.

Nevertheless, thousands of trains will be cancelled on each of the strike days, ruining millions of passengers’ travel plans.

The drivers’ and RMTs’ walkouts will have distinct effects.

Some railroad companies, like Avanti West Coast and Southeastern, have cancelled every train during previous driver strikes.

On essential lines, others have operated a skeleton service. For instance, GWR provides a minimal service between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads and Cardiff Central.

It is anticipated that the RMT walkout will have less of an effect. GWR will likely operate a more thorough timetable, which will include travel to and from Exeter and Plymouth.

A rudimentary service will be provided by Avanti West Coast, with one train departing from Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow every hour for travel to London Euston.

The LNER is projected to focus on the London King’s Cross–York–Newcastle–Edinburgh axis, running up to 40% of regular trains on the East Coast main line.

The great majority of services in Scotland and Wales will run regularly on all strike days since ScotRail and Transport for Wales are not parties to the dispute with Aslef.

On lines that are typically shared with railway operators whose employees are on strike, notably London-York-Newcastle-Edinburgh and Swansea-Cardiff-Newport, trains operated by these firms are expected to be more packed than usual.

Normal service is also available to passengers on:

  • Caledonian Sleeper
  • Grand Central
  • Heathrow Express
  • Hull Trains
  • London Overground
  • Lumo
  • Merseyrail

The last of these, Merseyrail, will run more trains throughout the weekend of the Eurovision, however the network is only available inside the Liverpool region as far as Southport and Ormskirk, as well as the Wirral and Chester.

The restriction on drivers working overtime is anticipated to have an especially negative impact on long-distance train companies such Avanti West Coast and TransPennine Express.

There will also be some cancellations of overnight services before to the strikes and early morning trains after the walkouts.

How will this impact Eurostar?

No, although getting to and from the train operator’s major hub at London St. Pancras International may be challenging due to the walkout of union members employed by all three domestic train operators serving the station (East Midlands Railway, Southeastern, and Thameslink).

Why is Aslef engaging in labour unrest?

The general secretary of Aslef, Mick Whelan, declared: “We do not want to go on strike. We don’t want to bother travellers; we have relatives and friends who also travel by train, and we think that securing the nation’s rail infrastructure is important.

“However, the employers are to responsible for this action, fairly and squarely, as they compelled us to take this step due to their obstinacy.

The plan, which would have increased wages by just 4%, was obviously not intended to be approved because inflation is still above 10% and our members haven’t received raises at these firms in the past four years.

The firms involved, according to Mr. Whelan, are “letting down passengers, and taxpayers,” and “proposals to modernise Britain’s railways and help them run more efficiently” have been turned down.

“This is disappointing news for our customers and staff, more strike action is totally unnecessary and will only heap more pressure on an industry already facing an acute financial crisis,” a spokeswoman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said.

“It is terrible for everyone who is attending that both the FA Cup final and the Eurovision final were senselessly targeted.

“We offered a new and reasonable offer, which included an 8 percent salary increase over two years, following several weeks of talks with the Aslef leadership. It would have implemented long overdue, logical upgrades already in place in some areas of the network, increasing the number of on-time departures of trains for passengers. Sadly, this was turned down.

Why is RMT on strike?

The unions claim they are unable to accept the salary recommendations offered by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the group that represents train companies.

The RMT previously stated that it was taking into consideration an improved offer from the railway companies. However, the rail union claims that the 5% first-year payment now seems conditional on the RMT’s industrial mandate being lifted.

“The RDG have reneged on their original proposals and torpedoed these negotiations,” said Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the RMT.

“I have no doubt that the Tory government’s pressure had a role in their choice.

We thus have no choice but to move through with more strike action and keep pushing for a negotiated agreement on salary, conditions, and job security.

The Rail Delivery Group’s chair, Steve Montgomery, disagreed that the objectives had changed. Nothing has changed from the offer that the RMT leadership in the bargaining chamber agreed to two weeks ago, he claimed.

“The RMT are negotiating in bad faith, denying their members a say on a fair pay deal, needlessly disrupting millions of our passengers’ lives, and undermining the viability of an industry crucial to Britain’s economy,” the statement reads.

A decision from the main rail union’s re-balloting of its members among the 14 train operating firms is anticipated on May 4. The RMT will obtain a new six-month strike mandate if it exceeds all legal turnout requirements and receives a “yes” vote.

What is the government’s opinion?

The final agreement, which will be mostly funded by taxpayers, will be approved by ministers.

Mark Harper, the transport minister, declared: “The RMT executive is determined on continuing to compel its members to lose even more money. Passengers have been forced to suffer the RMT’s strike action for over a year.

“That’s in spite of having a best and last offer, comparable to the salary package that its Network Rail members recently decisively approved.

“By yet again denying their members a chance to have a say, and then striking over the UK’s first Eurovision event in 25 years – hosted for Ukraine,” said one traveller, “the RMT are simply further snubbing the very passengers they serve.”

Can the strikes be stopped?

The first pair—Aslef on May 12 and RMT on May 13—seems quite unlikely to be cancelled. All sides will be closely observing to see how successful the walk-outs are.

The government and railway operators seem to be banking on a decline in union members’ willingness to support a strike. If more than half the trains on the timetable can operate,

The unions, on the other hand, think that there is still a lot of support for the strikes and that eventually the ministers would relent and accept unconditional wage increases.

I’ve made travel arrangements for one of the strike days. What should I do?

If the train that the ticket is purchased for is cancelled, delayed, or rescheduled, passengers with Advance, Anytime, or Off-Peak tickets can get their ticket reimbursed without paying a charge.

Train companies will probably provide customers the option to travel on a variety of days that are not strike days.

Season ticket holders who don’t use their tickets can submit a Delay Repay claim for reimbursement for the strike dates.

What other options are there?

Even though seats are getting harder to find and prices are going up, long-distance coach companies like National Express, Megabus, and Flixbus will continue operating as usual.

Over the weekend of the Eurovision, Megabus has some seats from London to Liverpool for under £40 roundtrip.

National Express sells round-trip tickets from Manchester to London for under £40 on the day of the FA Cup Final.

Source: independent

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