A series of train strike dates are planned throughout October over an ongoing dispute regarding jobs, pay, and working conditions.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), Aslef, Unite and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) are all planning industrial action over the autumn period. It means that there will be significant delays and train cancellations throughout the month.
Passengers are being urged to travel only if necessary, with some train companies cutting services completely on strike days.
So far, strikes are planned for four days in October. Service levels will depend on how many workers are striking with some days being targetted by more than one union.
Where are the train strikes in October?
Members of the RMT, Aslef, the TSSA and Unite will all walk out on Saturday, October 1. This will be the first time that the RMT and Aslef will s trike on the same day, which means only about 11 per cent of services will run, compared with about 20 per cent on previous strike days.
Trains will start later in the morning and finish earlier in the evening, and there will be no trains at all across large parts of the network. There will be no trains running between London and a number of other major UK cities – including Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle, Brighton and Norwich.
Avanti West Coast, Northern, CrossCountry, West Midlands Railway and Chiltern Railways have cancelled all of their services.
Passengers are also advised that there is likely to be some disruption in the early morning of Sunday, October 2, as workers return to duties.
Aslef members will also strike on October 5. Members at 13 companies – Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Greater Anglia; Great Western Railway; Hull Trains; LNER; London Overground; Northern Trains; Southeastern; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains – will strike, while drivers at East Midlands Railway will also walk out on October 5.
Reduced timetables are set to be published soon.
The RMT says its members will also walk out on October 8. According to the RMT, over 40,000 union members from Network Rail and 15 train operating companies will take part in the strikes. The train operating companies that will be affected include Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, Northern Trains, South Eastern, South Western Railway, Transpennine Express, Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains, and GTR (including Gatwick Express).
Reduced timetables are set to be published soon.
Members of the RMT at ScotRail will walk out on October 10. ScotRail said the strike would have "significant consequences" for rail services in Scotland.
Why are the train strikes happening?
The strikes follow several days of industrial action over the last few weeks, and are part of an ongoing dispute over pay and working conditions. Negotiations have taken place but have so far failed to secure a deal for striking workers.
In recent days, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch acknowledged his hopes of communicating with the new Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, he said: "We welcome this more positive approach from the government to engage with us as a first step to finding a suitable settlement. However, as no new offer has been tabled, our members have no choice but to continue this strike action
"We will continue to negotiate in good faith, but the employers and government need to understand our industrial campaign will continue for as long as it takes."
Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Despite our best efforts to compromise and find a breakthrough in talks, rail unions remain intent on continuing and coordinating their strike action.
“This serves only to ensure our staff forgo even more of their pay unnecessarily, as well as causing even more disruption for our passengers and further damaging the railway’s recovery from the pandemic.
“Passengers who want to travel this Saturday, and indeed next Wednesday and next Saturday, are asked only to do so if absolutely necessary. Those who must travel should expect disruption and make sure they check when their last train will depart.”
Daniel Mann, director of industry operations at Rail Delivery Group, said: “These strikes are unnecessary and damaging. They disrupt passengers’ plans, undermine struggling businesses, hit major events and harm the industry’s recovery.
“It is particularly disheartening that this weekend’s strike will hit the plans of thousands of runners who have trained for months to take part in the iconic London Marathon. That will also punish the many charities, large and small, who depend on sponsorship money raised by such events to support the most vulnerable in our community.
“While we have done all we can to keep some services running, passengers should only travel by rail if absolutely necessary.
“Passengers with advance, off-peak or anytime tickets affected by the strikes on 1 October can use their ticket on the day before the booked date, or up to and including 4 October. Passengers can also change their tickets to travel on an alternate date or get a refund if their train is cancelled or rescheduled.”
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