The UK is bracing itself for the biggest rail strike in 30 years with millions of Britons set to be plunged into travel chaos with rail unions staging a mass walkout. Almost every major national rail service will be crippled due to the strikes, leaving commuters weighing up their options. The rail strikes are planned for 21, 23 and 25 June, but the knock-on effects will be felt all week due to staff shortages.
Will the rail strikes affect the Tube and London Overground?
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that its tube services will join the national rail strike, but only on Tuesday, 21 June. The strikes will be “London-wide”, according to the transport network, which will leave all lines “severely disrupted or not running” and will last all day and through to mid-morning on 22 June.
While services will resume as normal at 8am on 22 June, TfL says it will be best to avoid the Underground and Overground until mid-morning, as there are likely to be major delays following the resumption. However, London’s train misery will not end there.
The rail strikes are likely to have an adverse effect on the Tube, particularly the Overground and the city’s new Elizabeth Line, which will see “reduced services” again on 23 and 25 June.
According to TfL, there will also be disruptions “on the Tube, Elizabeth line and London Overground on Friday 24 and Sun[day] 26 June”.
TfL advises: “On Tuesday 21 June, avoid travelling if you can. If you need to travel, complete your journey before 18:00.
“On Wednesday 22 June, avoid travelling on the Tube before mid-morning.
“On Wednesday 22, Friday 24 and Sunday 26 June, avoid travelling on the Overground before mid-morning. Check Tube and Elizabeth lines before you travel.
“If you need to travel, expect severe disruption, Allow more time for your journey. Consider walking or cycling if possible.”
Which lines will be affected by the strikes?
Despite last-ditch attempts to avoid the rail strikes, the planned protests will go ahead.
There will be around 4,500 services going ahead during the strike – considerably down from the usual 20,000.
National Rail has provided a special timetable for users to plan ahead, which is strongly advised during the strikes. National Rail has said services across the following lines will be impacted:
- Avanti West Coast
- Caledonian Sleeper
- Chiltern Railways
- East Midlands Railway
- Elizabeth line
- Gatwick Express
- Grand Central
- Great Northern
- Great Western Railway
- Greater Anglia/Stansted Express
- Heathrow Express
- Hull Trains
- London Northwestern Railway
- London Overground
- South Western Railway/Island Line
- TransPennine Express
- Transport for Wales
- West Midlands Railway
Why is there a strike?
Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) are striking for several reasons. The union body has highlighted pay rises that do not match the rate of inflation and pay freezes “of the last few years” as reasons to take action now. It has also stated that rail companies are refusing to “give any guarantee against compulsory redundancies”.
In a statement on 20 June, following the last-ditch attempts to stop the strike, the RMT said “employing companies, have taken decisions to:”
• Attack the Railway Pension Scheme and the TFL scheme, diluting benefits, making staff work longer and making them poorer in retirement, while paying increased contributions.
• Cut thousands of jobs across the rail network while not giving a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.
• Cutting safety inspections on the infrastructure by 50% in order to facilitate mass redundancies.
• Attack terms, conditions and working practices in a form of internal fire and rehire, including lowering existing salaries and increasing the working week.
• Restarting the disputes on the role and responsibility of the guard and massive cuts to catering services.
• Closing every ticket office in Britain regardless of the accessibility needs of the diversity of passengers.
• Cutting real pay for most of our members through lengthy pay freezes and well below RPI inflation pay proposals.