Union railway employees are striking for the third time in a week today (June 25) over pay, work conditions and job threat disputes in action set to cripple services nationwide once again
Rail strikes have brought with them a third day of disruption this week as thousands of workers form picket lines today (June 25) as part of the biggest industrial action in 30 years.
Train worker walkouts caused havoc for services on Tuesday and Thursday, and today will see disgruntled employees continue to protest over potential changes to pay, conditions and pensions, bringing chaos to weekend services.
The mid-week strikes saw the majority of routes cancelled, something that is likely to be repeated during today’s industrial action.
Here is a guide to which routes are likely to be affected and what is needed to resolve the issues behind the union dissatisfaction.
What trains will run today?
It will be a similar picture to the other strike days on Tuesday and Thursday.
Around 20% of services will run and just half of lines will be open, and only running between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
Last trains are expected to be much earlier than normal, with the last London Euston to Glasgow route on Thursday departing at 1.30pm and London King’s Cross to Edinburgh at 2pm.
The move is part of a third walkout in less than seven days by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), with the union’s members employed at Network Rail and 13 train operators refusing to work.
Is there any chance that strikes planned for today will be called off?
Negotiations were ongoing on Friday but passengers are still urged to check with train operators for updates to services.
Last-ditch attempts at preventing the week’s earlier strikes failed, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps accused of “wrecking” talks between the RMT and Network Rail over possible redundancies.
What do the RMT want?
Around 40,000 RMT members are striking over a bitter row to do with pay, jobs and conditions.
Members of the drivers’ union Aslef on Greater Anglia also walked out on Thursday in a separate dispute over pay.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said his union wants guarantees over job loss threats and pay bumps for staff.
Speaking on BBC’s Question Time, he said employers told unions they could commit to no compulsory redundancies, but were not being permitted by ministers to publicly make the pledge.
The RMT, which represents rail workers ranging from catering staff to signallers, is arguing that its staff – who worked throughout the pandemic – are now facing below-inflation pay rises after years of wage freezes.
The union wants a pay hike of at least 7%, ahead of predicted rises to inflation of 11% in the autumn. The RMT rejected a 2% offer, with an added 1% tied to job cuts.
It is concerned about proposed redundancies and changes to working conditions, after the proposed railways making efficiencies following the coronavirus crisis, which has led to more people working from home.
Unions believe that as many as 2,500 jobs could be at risk.
When will the train strikes end?
The summer of walkouts could continue into July as another major transport union ballots its members on possible industrial action.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) served notice to ballot its members at Greater Anglia for strike action and short action of strike over pay, conditions and job security.
The union is demanding a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for 2022, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase that reflects the rising cost of living.
Voting starts on June 29, with the result due in mid-July, so the earliest date strike action could take place is July 27.
The TSSA is also voting its members in Network Rail, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast, Northern, LNER, C2C, Great Western Railway (GWR) and TransPennine Express.
London Underground workers who are RMT members have also agreed to strike again following their picket line demonstrations on Tuesday, with a date still to be set for future action.
Talks with RMT on the national railways dispute has yet to produce a resolution.
Ministers want to change the law to enable businesses to supply skilled agency workers to plug staffing gaps during industrial action, with the changes possibly being readied in time to deal with strikes next month.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.