Train strikes: new date added for October rail walkouts

October Train Strikes Rail Industrial Action - Carl Court/Getty Images
October Train Strikes Rail Industrial Action - Carl Court/Getty Images

Rail unions are staging a series of train strikes targeting the Conservative Party Conference in October.

Union leaders have called off a truce with company bosses after cancelling industrial action during the period of national mourning after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT) will walk out on Oct 1 and Oct 8.

Aslef, which represents train drivers, will strike across 12 train operating companies on Oct 1 and Oct 5.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) is understood to have served notice that hundreds of members will also strike on Oct 1.

Notice has also been served on rail chiefs that “action short of a strike” – for example, a ban on overtime or working outside of contractual hours – is planned by the TSSA for Oct 5, industry sources said.

What days are the train strikes happening?

The RMT will walk out on Saturday, Oct 1 and Saturday Oct 8.

Aslef members will walk out on Saturday, Oct 1 and Wednesday, Oct 5.

The TSSA will strike on Oct 1 with services likely to also be disrupted on Oct 5.

Which train operators will be affected?

RMT members will walk out on:

  • Chiltern Railways

  • Cross Country Trains

  • Greater Anglia

  • LNER

  • East Midlands Railway

  • c2c

  • Great Western Railway

  • Hull Trains

  • Northern Trains

  • South Eastern

  • South Western

  • RailwayTranspennine Express

  • Avanti West Coast

  • West Midlands Trains

  • GTR (including Gatwick Express as well as Network Rail)

Aslef members at 12 companies will strike. They are: 

  • Avanti West Coast

  • Chiltern Railways

  • CrossCountry

  • Greater Anglia

  • Great Western Railway

  • Hull Trains

  • LNER

  • London Overground

  • Northern Trains

  • Southeastern

  • TransPennine Express

  • West Midlands Trains

Network Rail workers will also be on strike on October 8.

The TSSA is yet to confirm its strike action and which services will be impacted.

What are workers striking over?

Aslef members are walking out in a row over wages only.

General secretary Mick Whelan said: “They are telling train drivers to take a real terms pay cut. With inflation now running at 12.3pc – and set, it is said, to go higher – these companies are saying that drivers should be prepared to work just as hard, for just as long, but for considerably less.”

For the RMT and the TSSA, the situation is different. There’s a dispute over both wages and plans for sweeping reforms to working practices.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Transport workers are joining a wave of strike action on October 1st, sending a clear message to the government and employers that working people will not accept continued attacks on pay and working conditions at a time when big business profits are at an all-time high.

“The Summer of Solidarity we have seen will continue into the Autumn and Winter if employers and the government continue to refuse workers reasonable demands.

“We want a settlement to these disputes where our members and their families can get a square deal.  And we will not rest until we get a satisfactory outcome.”

Will there be more Tube strikes in 2022?

More London Underground disruption is likely as a pay row between Transport for London (TfL) and union RMT rolls on.

The RMT warned on August 31 that more Tube strikes could occur, as it complained workers’ pay and pensions were at risk in a funding deal with the Government designed to secure TfL's operations until 2024.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This deal negotiated in secret by TfL and government ministers will likely see our members’ pensions attacked and further pay restraint in the future, coupled with driverless trains.

“Grant Shapps’ attack on Tube workers would be unacceptable at any time but in an escalating cost of living crisis it is shameful and will be resisted through further strike action.

“TfL needs to stand up to Grant Shapps and demand a deal that serves all the people of London and addresses the real concerns of London transport workers who keep the capital running.”

Can I get a refund or travel on another service if my train is cancelled?

According to consumer group Which?, the process differs based on which train company someone is travelling with, and customers can “only claim compensation during a rail strike for a delay based on the replacement or emergency timetable for train or replacement bus services”.

What is the Government doing about it?

Talks between union leaders on one side and train companies and Network Rail ground to a halt during the period of national mourning.

The Government has already threatened new minimum service requirements that would require a certain number of trains to run during a strike. However, ministers have warned it could take months to draw up the new laws.

Eleven trade unions have launched legal action for a judicial review into the plans.

Grant Shapps, the former transport secretary, has previously condemned the strikes.

“On a salary of almost £60,000, it isn't fair for train drivers to hurt those on lower wages with more walkouts,” he wrote on Twitter.