Train strikes have persisted into 2023 after delaying rail traffic for much of last year.
With inflation hovering at 10%, trade unions have been requesting better pay for their members amid the crisis in the cost of living, but talks are coming to a standstill.
Here is all the information you need to know about the railroad drivers’ strike and any future strikes.
When is the strike by train drivers?
There will be a strike by train drivers on February 1 and 3.
The action is probably going to stop most of the train network. The following operators have affirmed that neither day will see any service operation:
Gatwick Express Great Northern Heathrow Express Island Line London Northwestern Railway Avanti West Coast Chiltern Railways CrossCountry East Midlands Railway Northern Southeastern Southern Thameslink
Railway West Midlands TransPennine
A reduced service will be provided by the following operators:
the Great Western Railway LNER and the Greater Anglia & Stansted Express
Drivers who belong to the Rail, Maritime, and Transport union are joining the strike (RMT).
When trains do run, they are programmed to depart later and arrive considerably earlier than usual, usually between 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
According to the Rail Delivery Group, 30% of rail services are anticipated to operate nationwide, but there will be significant variances throughout the network. It is possible that there won’t be any trains in certain areas of the nation while other lines continue to run as usual.
On the days before each strike, it is anticipated that nighttime services on some lines may be impacted. Because much of the rolling stock won’t be at the proper depots on February 2 and 4, morning services on certain routes might also be impacted.
Complete information for all journeys has been updated in the National Rail journey planner.
Tickets for usage between February 1 and February 3 may be used up through and including Tuesday, February 7, the day before the ticket date.
If the train they have reserved is cancelled, delayed, or rescheduled, passengers holding advance, anytime, or off-peak tickets for travel on strike days can also have their tickets reimbursed without incurring any fees.
Why are train operators on strike?
The Train Delivery Group (RDG), which speaks for the rail operators, said earlier this month that it had made an improved salary offer to Aslef in exchange for railroad improvements.
The offer, according to the RDG, contained a promise to avoid forced layoffs until April 2024 as well as a backdated salary boost of 4% for 2022 and a further 4% increase in 2023.
But it also brought new working conditions, such altered Sunday routines.
“The idea is not and could never be acceptable, but we are happy to participate in additional conversations within the procedure that we previously agreed,” said Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef.
With inflation hovering around 10%, the offer not only represents a salary decrease in actual terms, but it also came with so many stipulations that it was obviously untenable.
They wish to violate our terms and conditions in exchange for a wage reduction in actual terms. It was obvious that the offer was made in a hurry right before our meeting with the minister and that it wasn’t intended to be accepted, in my opinion.
“Despite skyrocketing inflation, our members at these firms have not received raises since 2019. It is time the corporations – possibly encouraged by the Government – came down with us and got serious.
That is the best and only way to put a stop to this argument.
Are there going to be more train strikes?
Since last summer, the RMT has organized the majority of the train strikes that have caused delays in rail service.
In January, negotiations between the RMT and rail executives were restarted in the hopes of reaching an agreement.
A settlement, according to RMT general secretary Mick Lynch, was farther away than ever following the negotiations “because of the behaviors of the other side of the negotiating team.”
After rejecting the most recent offer of an 8% wage raise, the union stated that it was still waiting for an improved offer in writing from Network Rail and the RDG. The union expressed particular worry on plans to eliminate train guards and run driver-only services.
Beyond the drivers’ strike, the RMT does not presently have any planned strikes, although the union is already authorized to conduct strikes through the end of May. According to Mr. Lynch, a second ballot that would permit strikes to go until November is “possible.”
He has already accused the Government of intervening with “an unprecedented amount of ministerial involvement” in order to prevent a settlement.
Since privatization in 1993, he added, “We have worked with the rail sector to obtain successful negotiated settlements. In 2021 and 2022, we have reached agreements across the network without the Department for Transport’s participation.
However, the extent of ministry intervention in this issue is unprecedented, making it difficult for rail employers to work with us to negotiate a set of measures that would end this conflict.
This was refuted by Mark Harper, the transport secretary, who told Sky News that there was a fair and appropriate salary offer on the table. There isn’t an endless supply of tax dollars at play here. When the epidemic arrived and many people stopped traveling, taxpayers invested a significant amount of money into the train business during the last few years.
“The most essential thing for passengers, companies, and the future of our rail sector is for unions to put a halt to this,” a Department of Transportation spokeswoman stated.