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London train strikes April and May 2024: everything you need to know

More industrial action is planned for April and May

India Lawrence
Written by
India Lawrence

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 nearly two years since the UK was blissfully rail-strike-free. And industrial action isn’t going away anytime soon – more strikes have taken place this month.

The most recent round of strikes took place on April 5, 6 and 8, when ASLEF train drivers across the country walked out. Next up will be TSSA customer service staff on the London Underground, who’ll strike on Wednesday April 10 and Thursday April 11, while ASLEF drivers on LNER will walk out on April 20. 

In slightly brighter news, two days of industrial action on the tube scheduled for April and May have been called off. We’re also currently seeing respite from RMT workers striking on non-TfL services, as before Christmas the union’s members voted to pause strikes for now. This week’s TSSA strike is also not expected to cause significant disruption. 

Here’s everything you need to know about planned industrial action on London’s train network. 

All you need to know about the train strikes across the UK.
How to get around London during this week’s train strikes.

When are the next London train strikes?

The next strike will come from TSSA workers at London Underground stations, who’ll walk out on April 10-11. As of today (April 11), this has left nine stations closed: Waterloo, Bermondsey, Caledonian Road, Manor House, Mornington Crescent, Southwark, Russell Square, Oval, and Regent’s Park.

After that, ASLEF train drivers working for LNER will strike on April 20. They’ll also not work overtime from April 19-21

The most recent major industrial action came from ASLEF drivers at 16 rail companies, who walked out on April 5, 6 and 8.

Which London train lines will be affected?

The ASLEF strikes will only impact LNER services, which link London with cities like Leeds, York, Edinburgh, Inverness, Newcastle and Aberdeen. 

Nationwide ASLEF strikes (which the April 20 strike isn’t) typically affect 16 train companies, some of which operate services in and out of London. These are all the lines that will be affected:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Great Western Railway
  • LNER
  • TransPennine Express
  • C2C
  • Greater Anglia
  • GTR (Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern, Thameslink)
  • Southeastern
  • South Western Railway
  • Chiltern Railways
  • Northern Trains
  • West Midlands Railway

When are the tube strikes?

The strikes on the tube will go ahead on April 10-11. While TfL said not to expect significant disruption, today (April 11) nine tube stations are closed: Waterloo, Bermondsey, Caledonian Road, Manor House, Mornington Crescent, Southwark, Russell Square, Oval, and Regent’s Park.

More than 2,000 London Underground drivers who are ASLEF members were supposed to walk out on April 8 and May 4. These strikes have now been called off. 

What’s been said about the Underground strikes?

The TSSA General Secretary Maryam Eslamdoust said: ‘Our Customer Service Manager members are united and determined to take strike action this week in defence of their terms and conditions.

‘We cannot allow the continued threats to our members' roles, locations, terms and conditions to stand unchallenged, that is why our members are taking strike action this week. We’ll see how quickly London Underground get back round the negotiating table when they see the strength and determination of our members.’

Following the suspension of the strikes on the tube, an ASLEF spokesperson said: 

‘Management have confirmed that they have disbanded their “trains modernisation” team and will not be implementing their plans to change drivers’ working arrangements without agreement. They have also agreed to reinstate annual refresher training stopped during the pandemic.’

How long will the London train strikes last?

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) in February were suspended. No more action is planned. 

Will the Elizabeth line be on strike? 

There are no strikes currently planned for Elizabeth line services

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.’

The LNER strike by ASLEF drivers blames ‘the company’s failure to adhere to the agreed bargaining machinery’. ASLEF says its drivers on LNER are being ‘bullied and pushed about by a company that thinks it can break agreements whenever it feels like it’.

How to get to London airports during the train strikes

When trains are both out of action due to strikes, there are other ways to get to London’s airports. Both the tube (Piccadilly line) and other rail lines (like the Elizabeth line) service Heathrow, while coaches frequently run from central and outer London areas from the likes of National Express. They’re also, obvs, all accessible by road – whether you’d like to drive or get a taxi. Expect higher levels of traffic during strike days. 

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.

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