Do you have plans for a nice staycation this August? Maybe a trip up north to see the folks, or a hill climbing getaway in Wales? You might want to rethink your transport plans, because three more days of UK-wide rail strikes are coming up this month.
The news follows the mass rail strikes that took place at the end of June, as well as industrial action in July and the additional rail disruption from the British train network being unable to cope with the heat.
Thought things would have settled down by now? The summer of strikes is still far from over, and unions are preparing for more industrial action which will cause travel chaos up and down the country.
We don’t know exactly how long the strikes are going to last and it has been advised for people to plan out journeys well in advance. If you need to travel on or on days immediately after the planned strike dates, you should find alternative transport options and only travel by train if ‘absolutely necessary’.
RMT Union Leader Mick Lynch has said ‘that this dispute will not simply vanish’, and transport secretary Grant Shapps has made it clear of his stance. In a statement in July, Shapps accused the RMT of being ‘hellbent on causing further misery for people across the country’. Ouch.
It’s all got pretty fiery. The unions don’t look like they’re about to back down anytime soon, so we’d recommend you grab a pen and paper and take note of all the intricacies of the upcoming industrial action.
Here’s everything we know about the train strikes in August.
Why are workers striking?
Different unions are striking for different reasons, but the overarching reason is the lack of pay rises.
Rail workers in the ASLEF union are striking because they have experienced a real-terms pay cut over the past three years due to inflation and rising living costs, with union leaders criticising Network Rail’s ‘paltry’ pay offers.
Meanwhile, the RMT is striking in response to an ongoing dispute over working conditions, job security and pay. Mick Lynch, the RMT’s general secretary, said: ‘Recent proposals from Network Rail fell well short on pay and on safety around maintenance work. And the train operating companies have not even made us a pay offer in recent negotiations.’
The TSSA said that it had failed to get assurances over job security and working practices, and members of the Unite union, responsible for managing and controlling the power supply to the rail network, said that they’d not received a pay increase for three years.
What days are the train strikes in August happening?
On August 18 and August 20, strikes are organised by the RMT and the scale of disruption will be similar to the industrial action we saw in June. Half of the RMT walkouts will be from Network Rail staff, and the remaining will be from 14 train operators:
- Chiltern Railways
- Greater Anglia
- East Midlands Railway
- Great Western Railway
- Northern Trains
- South Eastern
- South Western Railway
- TransPennine Express
- Avanti West Coast
- West Midlands Trains
- GTR (including Gatwick Express)
- London Overground
- Great Western Railway
- Hull Trains
- London Northwestern Railway
Also joining the RMT strikes on August 18 and 20 will be around 2,500 members of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, including controllers, as well as members of the Unite union who work as electrical control room operatives for Network Rail.
It’s likely that trains will also be affected on the days following the strikes.
Can I get a refund if my train is cancelled?
According to National Rail, if your train is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled due to the industrial action, you will:
- Be entitled to a change or refund from the original retailer of your ticket
- Be able to use your ticket with another train company or an alternative route if it is available
If you have a ticket for August 18 or 20, you can either use it on the day before the ticket date or through to and including August 23.
And what about the tube?
Workers on London Underground will strike for 24 hours on August 19, and will be joined by London Overground staff on the same day. And now it has been announced that buses in north and north-west London will strike on August 19 and 20 too.
Why are they striking? The RMT said Transport for London had refused to share details about a draft government proposal for transport system funding, and tube staff have been locked in a dispute with TfL over pensions and jobs. Here’s everything you need to know about the tube strikes.
Overground union members employed by Arriva Rail London are planning to strike over pay.
To keep up to date with the rail strikes, check out the RMT’s website.
Need to plan ahead? Find out more about how long the UK rail strikes will go on for.