Despite members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT) having been offered a 5pc pay rise, heavily discounted train travel for family members and cash bonuses of up to £900 each in a scramble to prevent further strikes, they have announced another walk-out in July.
In addition, members of two other unions are ramping up preparations to stage industrial action later in July too.
Members of the drivers’ union Aslef and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) have backed industrial action in recent days.
As little as one in 10 trains would be able to run if drivers union Aslef also goes ahead with a walkout, after members on Monday voted for new national strikes in disputes over pay that will bring further chaos for travellers this summer .
More train services across Britain could be cancelled over the coming months after Aslef, the drivers’ union, said its members had voted for industrial action at eight train companies. It would mark the first national walkout since 1995.
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), which represents station and ticket office workers, said Southeastern workers will also be striking over pay, job security and conditions.
Plans to strike were announced shortly after some Aslef union members voted to accept a 5pc pay offer, plus bonuses, from ScotRail, halting the potential for walkouts in Scotland.
At the end of July, ballots will close for strike action at Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry and Direct Rail Services.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said that strikes are “always the last resort” but “we’ve been forced into this position by the companies driven by the Government”.
The move follows industrial action by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union in June, which sparked the biggest disruption on British railways in a generation.
Here’s what you need to know.
When is the next train strike happening?
On Wednesday 13 July 2022, it was announced that Network Rail and RMT staff will next strike on July 27 for 24 hours.
Which rail operators will be affected?
Arriva Rail London, Chiltern Railways, Great Western, LNER, Northern Trains, Southeastern, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains will be affected by the Aslef strikes.
Southeastern, which is wholly owned by the Department for Transport (DfT) and runs train services between London and Kent, as well as parts of East Sussex, will be hit by the TSSA strikes. Stations potentially hit include London St Pancras, Victoria, Charing Cross and Cannon Street, as well as Dover Priory, Ramsgate, Ashford International, Dartford and Sevenoaks.
The TSSA is also currently balloting members at West Midlands Trains, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, TransPennine Express for industrial action.
What are workers striking over?
The Aslef strikes are all about pay. Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, argues that members have not had a pay rise since 2019.
“With inflation running at north of 10pc that means those drivers have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years. 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,” he said.
Meanwhile TSSA members are protesting over pay, jobs and conditions.
“If Ministers had any sense they would come to the table and sort this out, so we have a fair settlement for workers who were hailed as heroes in the pandemic,” 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 Which?, the process differs based on which train company someone is travelling with, and customers can “only claim compensation during a rail strike for a delay 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 draw up the new laws.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary who is vying to be the next Tory leader, was quick to condemn the strikes.
“On a salary of almost £60,000, it isn’t fair for train drivers to hurt those on lower wages with more walkouts,” he wrote on Twitter.