Train strikes: when are they and which companies are affected?

·3-min read

Drivers at 12 train operators will walk out on October 1 and 5, affecting travel to and from the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, according to rail union Aslef.

Furtherore, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) have announced that more than 40,000 workers from Network Rail and 15 train operators will strike on October 8. The union said it would be “effectively shutting down the railway network”.

The drivers’ union Aslef made only a brief statutory statement about the strikes out of respect for the period of national mourning for the death of the Queen. By law it must give employers two weeks’ notice of strikes.

Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Hull Trains, LNER, London Overground, Northern, Southeastern , TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains (badged as London Northwestern Railway) will be affected.

Strike action that had been planned for September 9, 15 and 17 was called off after the death of the Queen.

Railway workers went on strike for a number of days in August in a dispute over pay and working conditions. In addition, members of the RMT, Aslef and TSSA unions walked out in June and July.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said earlier that “this dispute will not simply vanish” and urged the rail industry and the government to “get serious about providing an offer on pay which helps deal with the cost-of-living crisis, job security for our members and provides good conditions at work”.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said the union members had “been forced into this position by the train companies, driven by the Tory government” and that “strike action is, now, the only option available”.

On strike days, only around a fifth of normal services ran, and half of the lines were closed.

In Scotland, workers on ScotRail will strike on October 10 in a dispute over pay, the RMT union announced.

The union said its members had been offered a 5% pay rise, describing it as a real terms wage cut because of the soaring rate of inflation

Why are there train strikes?

The RMT called strike action in a dispute over “job security, pay and working conditions”.

Lynch said: 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.”

Aslef’s Mick Whelan said: “The drivers at the companies where we are striking have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years since April 2019.

“And these companies are offering us nothing, saying their hands have been tied by the government.

“That means, in real terms, with inflation running ahead at 9%, 10%, and even 11% this year, according to which index you use, that they are being told to take a real terms pay cut. And that is not acceptable.”

He added: “Strikes are always the last resort. We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – our friends and families use public transport too – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike but we’ve been forced into this position by the companies, who say they have been driven to this by the Government.”