Although members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Workers’ Union have been offered a 5% pay rise, heavily reduced train travel for family members and cash bonuses that can reaching £900 each in a scramble to prevent further strikes, they announced another departure on July 27.
Less than 48 hours later, train drivers’ union Aslef will strike over wages, while the RMT announced two more days of strike action on August 18 and 20, affecting 14 train operators and Network Rail and involving 40,000 employees.
Meanwhile, members of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) have also backed the July industrial action in recent days.
As few as one in 10 trains could run during the Aslef strike on July 30, even worse than one in five trains left running during three days of RMT action in June. This is the first national walkout since 1995.
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), which represents station and ticket office workers, said workers in the South East will also strike over wages, job security and conditions.
Strike plans were announced shortly after some members of the Aslef union voted to accept an offer of 5% pay, plus bonuses, from ScotRail, halting the potential for walkouts in Scotland.
At the end of July, the ballots will be closed for strike action at Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry and Direct Rail Services.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: “We don’t want to strike – strikes are the result of failed bargaining – and this union, since I was GS in 2011, hasn’t has never been on strike, until this year, for a few days.
“But we were forced into this position by the railway companies, under the impetus of the Conservative government. The drivers of the companies where we are on strike have taken an actual pay cut for the past three years – since April 2019.”
Here’s what you need to know about the July 27 and 30 RMT and Aslef strikes, and other potential union strike action.
When will the next train strike take place?
On Wednesday July 13, 2022, it was announced that Network Rail and RMT staff would soon strike on July 27 for 24 hours. On July 14, Aslef announced that its train drivers would go out on Saturday July 30, with only one in 10 trains leaving in circulation.
Two more RMT strikes are due to take place on August 18 and 20 to protest job security, wages and working conditions.
Which rail operators will be affected?
Arriva Rail London, Chiltern Railways, Greater Anglia, Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, Southeastern and West Midlands Trains services will be affected by the Aslef strikes on July 30.
Southeastern, which is 100% owned by the Department for Transport (DfT) and runs rail services between London and Kent, as well as parts of East Sussex, will be hit 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 rail strikes in August will affect Network Rail, as well as 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 of West Midlands Trains, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, TransPennine Express for industrial action.
Will the Tube be affected by other strikes?
The London Underground came to a 24-hour shutdown on June 21, 2022 when RMT members decided to go on strike in a row over how Transport for London was cutting running costs.
So far, the RMT has not announced another tube strike this summer, but members renewed their strike mandate on June 24, meaning they have the right to strike again on a date set by the union’s national executive committee.
RMT chief Mick Lynch said: ‘Transport for London and the Mayor of London must seriously rethink their plans for hundreds of job cuts and try to take hard-earned pensions from the workers who serve the people of London at the daily.”
Meanwhile, nighttime action continues to affect the Central, Jubilee, Northern and Victoria lines every Friday and Saturday until December 6.
What are the workers striking on?
Aslef’s strikes concern wages. Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, maintains 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 these members – who were, you will recall, the people who displaced the workers and key assets across the country during the pandemic,” he said.
The RMT train strikes in August (and the July 27 rail strike) are the latest in the union’s dispute over job security, wages and working conditions. RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “The rail industry and government need to understand that this dispute will not simply go away.
“They need to seriously come up with a wage offer that helps address the cost of living crisis, job security for our members and good working conditions.
“Network Rail’s recent offers fell far short of pay and safety around maintenance work. And the rail operating companies didn’t even give us a pay offer in recent negotiations.
“We remain open to talks, but we will continue our campaign until we reach a negotiated settlement.”
Meanwhile, TSSA members are protesting wages, jobs and conditions.
“If ministers had any sense they would come to the table and settle this, so we have a fair settlement for the workers who have been hailed as pandemic heroes,” said TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes. .
Can I get a refund or travel on another service if my train is cancelled?
According to consumer group Who?, the process differs depending on which train a person is traveling with, and customers can only “claim compensation during a train strike for a delay based on the alternative or emergency of replacement train or 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 that drafting the new laws could take months.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary who dropped out of the race to be the next Tory leader, was quick to condemn the strikes.
“On a salary of almost £60,000 it’s not fair for train drivers to hurt those on lower salaries with more walkouts,” he wrote on Twitter.
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