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London train strikes in December and January: everything you need to know

More than 40,000 RMT members are striking in December and January

Chris Waywell
India Lawrence
Written by
Chris Waywell
India Lawrence

What dates are the tube, train and Overground strikes?

The RMT Union has announced a new slew of 48-hour strikes over the festive period in December 2022 and January 2023. 

The dates for the planned action are December 13, 14, 16 and 17 and January 3, 4, 6 and 7.

The RMT has also issued an overtime ban for its members across the railway network from December 18 to January 2, meaning a total of four weeks of disruption. 

This is likely to scupper a lot of people's travel plans for Christmas, so please make sure to plan ahead. 

Which London train lines will be affected?

As this is a Network Rail strike, it's affecting train lines across the country, including those coming in and out of London. TfL hasn't confirmed its participation in this strike, so tubes, Overgrounds and other London lines should still run as normal. 

 So far, these train lines have confirmed that they will be taking part in the industrial action:

Great Western Railway, Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, LNER, Greater Anglia, Cross Country Trains, South Western, West Midlands Railway, Northern, GTR (including Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and Gatwick Express), Southeastern, c2c. 

Many lines warned that travellers should plan ahead and only use trains if absolutely necessary, with the majority of services being cancelled. Services that are still running are expected to be extremely busy. 

Why are train workers striking?

The RMT has been fighting for a pay rise and better working conditions for the best part of this year. 

In a recent statement, the union said: 'Despite every effort made by our negotiators, it is clear that the government is directly interfering with our attempts to reach a settlement. The union suspended previous strike action in good faith to allow for intensive negotiations to resolve the dispute.

“Yet Network Rail have failed to make an improved offer on jobs, pay and conditions for our members during the last two weeks of talks. At the same time Rail Delivery Group, representing the train operating companies, have also broken a promise to make a meaningful offer on pay and conditions and even cancelled negotiations that were due to take place yesterday.'

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: 'This latest round of strikes will show how important our members are to the running of this country and will send a clear message that we want a good deal on job security, pay and conditions for our people.

'We have been reasonable, but it is impossible to find a negotiated settlement when the dead hand of government is presiding over these talks. The employers are in disarray and saying different things to different people, sometimes at the same time.'

What is this dispute about?

Basically, it’s the cost-of-living crisis again. With inflation running at more than 10 percent, and set to rise, pay offers of 2 or 3 percent won’t cut it anymore. Different unions are striking for different reasons, and the RMT is striking in response to an ongoing dispute over working conditions, job security and pay. 

Still, according to the BBC, train drivers on average earn nearly £60,000 a year, much more than the UK average salary. 

Are there tube and London train strikes over Christmas?

Alongside the strikes, there is going to be a lot of Network Rail engineering work in the capital over the festive period which will also impact services.

Are there more transport strikes planned for London?

There’s currently a massive London bus strike taking place in the lead-up to Christmas, with almost 1,000 bus drivers walking out for 10 days. The strike days in December are 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17.

And this is unlikely to be the end of the current climate of UK industrial action. The ongoing cost-of-living crisis is seeing workers in all spheres getting poorer and poorer as inflation outstrips any pay increases.

Even if employers do keep up with inflation, it might not help, with the Bank of England warning of the possibility of an ‘inflationary spiral’, in which businesses – including transport providers – transfer the cost of pay rises to customers, further heating the economy and driving inflation. So more strikes on the tube, trains and Overground look likely through the rest of the year and beyond.

Will it affect the Eurostar? 

Eurostar operated on a revised timetable for the strikes on November 10. It hasn't confirmed plans for the upcoming December strikes yet, but there's a chance trains could be affected again. You can keep up with all the latest details here

What about the rest of the UK?

All the details are here.

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