Does anyone even remember what life was like in London before the train strikes? Union members have been walking out since all the way back in the summer of 2022, making it well over 18 months since the UK was blissfully rail-strike-free. And industrial action isn’t going away anytime soon.
Following a ‘rolling’ series of ASLEF train driver strikes at the start of February, the RMT announced strikes for the London Overground. Action on February 19-20 was called off, and now another 48-hour strike on March 4-5 has now also been suspended.
Beyond that, there will be more strikes around the rest of the UK this week that will also impact London. Members of the ASLEF union are walking out today (March 1) on Northern and LNER routes.
But it isn’t all bad news. We’re currently seeing respite from RMT workers striking on non-TfL services, as before Christmas the union’s members voted to pause strikes until later this spring.
Here’s everything you need to know about planned industrial action on London’s train network.
When are the next London train strikes?
Walk-outs around the country on LNER and Northern services is taking place on March 1, but there is also an overtime ban on the same services from February 29 to March 2. LNER trains link London with destinations including Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Inverness.
Strikes from RMT workers on the London Overground from March 4-5 have been called off.
Until agreements between the government and rail unions are reached, we can expect further disruption in the near future.
Which London train lines will be affected?
For the ASLEF industrial action on March 1, London-bound trains by LNER will be impacted.
ASLEF and RMT strikes typically affect 16 train companies, some of which operate services in and out of London. These are all the lines that tend to be affected:
- Avanti West Coast
- East Midlands Railway
- Great Western Railway
- TransPennine Express
- Greater Anglia
- GTR (Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern, Thameslink)
- South Western Railway
- Chiltern Railways
- Northern Trains
- West Midlands Railway
When are the tube strikes?
Following the suspension of tube strikes at the beginning of January (which were supposed to take place from January 5-11), there is currently no industrial action planned for the London Underground.
How long will the London train strikes last?
ASLEF’s strikes will only last for 24 hours on March 1, though an overtime ban will last from February 29 to March 2.
A typical strike day tends to last for an entire 24-hour period. However, there could also be disruption on the day following a strike.
When it comes to other train lines, each operator is different. Check your respective rail operator’s official website to find out exactly how many trains will be running and how long the action is expected to impact services.
Is the London Overground on strike?
Strikes on the Overground (which was recently renamed and re-coloured) have been suspended.
Will the Elizabeth line be on strike?
Will strikes affect the Eurostar?
Eurostar is not expected to be affected by any strike dates. Find the latest details on the Eurostar website.
Why are UK train workers striking?
The ASLEF union is striking to protest a below-inflation pay increase.
ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan, said: ‘We have given the government every opportunity to come to the table but it has now been a year since we had any contact from the Department for Transport. It’s clear they do not want to resolve this dispute.
‘Many of our members have now not had a single penny increase to their pay in half a decade, during which inflation soared and with it the cost of living.
‘The government has now tried their old trick of changing the rules when they can’t win and brought in minimum service levels legislation. But this new law, as we told officials during the consultation period, won’t ease industrial strife. It will likely just make it worse.
‘There’s no excuse. The government and train operating companies must come to the table with a realistic offer so we can end this dispute and work together to ensure the future of our railways.’
What do the government’s anti-strike laws mean for London?
A bill requiring striking workers to meet ‘minimum service levels’ passed last year. The anti-strike legislation supposedly ensures ‘minimum service levels’ on key public services, including trains, making it pretty difficult for things to grind to a complete halt.
The law can theoretically allow bosses in rail, health, fire, ambulance, education and nuclear commissioning to sue unions and even sack employees if minimum services aren’t met during strikes.
However, many people, including opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer, expressed concern that these laws could infringe on workers’ fundamental right to strike.
As for London trains, the legislation could make strike action less severe. With a minimum service, it would be less likely for there to be absolutely no tubes, Overgrounds or trains.
Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out London newsletter for the best of the city, straight to your inbox.