Entire towns will be cut off from the rail network next week as the strike shuts down half of Britain’s rail lines.
Large swaths of Britain will be cut off from all rail service on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday when 40,000 RMT members walk out in a dispute over pay and jobs.
Network Rail confirmed on Wednesday that around 80% of services are set to be cut.
Commuters have been urged not to travel by train next week as the entire network is expected to be brought to a standstill by the biggest strike in over 30 years.
Tens of thousands of rail and tube workers are due out this month in what has been described as the ‘biggest outbreak of industrial action in the UK since 1989’. The Rail, Maritime and Transport union has announced that it will organize a separate strike in London’s railways and underground.
Union bosses are threatening to ‘shut down the system’, with major disruptions expected to rail services and the London Underground, affecting events such as the Glastonbury Festival and the British Athletics Championships.
When do strikes take place?
- Tuesday, June 21
- Thursday June 23
- Saturday June 25
The walkout is due to start on Tuesday June 21, with as many as 50,000 railway workers expected to strike and Network Rail and London Underground services expected to be affected.
No less than 40,000 rail service workers will then strike again on Thursday June 23 and Saturday June 25, according to the RMT union.
However, union bosses said the action was to affect train services “throughout the week the three days of action have been called”. Indeed, trains may not be in the correct stations after walkouts.
Rail union TSSA votes Network Rail staff later this month for a strike which could start on Monday July 25 – around the time of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “We could see a summer of discontent on our railways if Network Rail fails to see the meaning and comes to the table to address the concerns of its staff.
“Big cat bosses have so far refused these entirely reasonable demands, leaving us no choice but to vote for industrial action, which is always a last resort.”
Which rail operators will be affected?
Only a fifth of mainline rail services are expected to operate during the three-day strike period in June. The disrupted train services are:
- Chiltern Railways
- Cross country trains
- Greater England
- East Midlands Railway
- Northern Trains
- South East
- South West Railway
- Great Western Railway
- Trans Pennine Express
- Avanti west coast
- West Midlands Trains
TSSA’s possible action with Network Rail would have a wider impact on services. It has members in engineering, maintenance, supervision, control and management functions.
What are the workers striking on?
Railway workers voted to strike after a row with Network Rail over pay freezes and proposed job cuts. RMT says up to 2,500 jobs are at risk and workers have been subjected to years of wage freezes.
The TSSA requires no mandatory layoffs for 2022, no changes to terms and conditions unless agreed with staff, and wage increases that follow inflation.
RMT general secretary Mike Lynch said of the action: ‘We have a cost of living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to lose their jobs or face another year of wage freezes. .”
National Rail responded by saying the union ‘must recognize that we are a public body and that any wage increase must be affordable to taxpayers’.
Chief executive Andrew Haines said: “We cannot expect to take more than our fair share of public funds, and so we need to modernize our industry to put it on a solid financial footing for the future. The failure of modernization will only lead to industry decline and more job losses in the long run.”