Between the airport chaos, the tube strikes and the upcoming industrial action on the nationwide rail network, it’s safe to say that the UK transport industry’s summer of discontent is already well under way. And tomorrow it’ll all to come to a head: 40,000 rail workers are set to go on strike across the country.
No doubt you’ll have loads of questions: who’s striking? How much of the service will be affected? And what if you’ve already bought train tickets for those days? Well, read on for everything you need to know about this week’s strikes.
When are the UK rail strikes?
The nationwide strike is scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – June 21, 23 and 25. On top of that, there’s a separate strike scheduled for the London Underground on June 21.
Who’s called the strike and why is it happening?
The walkout was voted for by members of the Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) in May. The RMT says that railways workers have been subjected to pay freezes since 2020 which, considering the recent levels of inflation and the cost of living crisis, actually amount to pay cuts. On top of that, the union says that Network Rail is planning to cut 2,500 jobs across the network.
Which networks are affected?
Network Rail is the main firm affected by the strikes, meaning most of the UK’s signallers and most vital infrastructure workers won’t be working. But that isn’t all. Employees will also be walking out at 13 other rail operators around the UK. Those are:
• Avanti West Coast
• Chiltern Railways
• Cross Country Trains
• Greater Anglia
• Great Western Railway
• East Midlands Railway
• Northern Trains
• South Eastern Railway
• South Western Railway
• TransPennine Express
• West Midlands Trains
Should I travel on a strike day?
If you’re planning on using one of the above rail operators, travel isn’t recommended unless absolutely necessary. That being said, certain lines (even on the affected operators’ routes) will be running a very limited service.
If you don’t plan on using one of the above operators, however, there’s a chance you might be fine. 4,500 of the UK’s 20,000 daily passenger routes will be running in some capacity. The best way to know for sure if your train is running is to check the website of your route operator, which should have a special timetable for the strike days.
What if I’ve already bought an advance ticket for the days of the strike?
If your train is cancelled, you’re entitled to a refund. You can usually get this by contacting your point of purchase.
Will the strike definitely go ahead?
There is, of course, always the chance the unions and rail bosses might come to an agreement before the strike. But we wouldn’t get our hopes up – with less than 24 hours to go, so far neither side has shown much willingness to stand down. In other words, prepare for the worst!