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London train strikes: everything you need to know

London train strikes: everything you need to know

What dates are the London train and Overground strikes?

RMT workers across 14 train operators will walk out in March and April. The strike days are March 16, 18, 30 and April 1. In addition, RMT members working for Network Rail will strike on March 16 and 17. There will also be an overtime ban in place. On top of all that, around 100 maintenance engineers from contractor Balfour Beatty are staging a series of 48-hour weekend strikes over pay. The remaining dates are March 10-12 and 17-19.   

Aslef and the RMT have also both announced tube strikes on Wednesday March 15, coinciding with the day the government announces its new budget.

Which London train lines will be affected?

All the London train operators are likely to be affected by the March and April strikes: 

C2c, Greater Anglia, GTR (Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern, Thameslink), Southeastern and South Western Railway 

When is the London tube strike?

London Underground drivers who are Aslef members will walk out for 24 hours on Wednesday March 15. Ninety-nine percent of train operators who voted in the union ballot were in favour of the strikes. 

RMT tube workers will join the action on the same day in a dispute over pensions, job losses and contractual agreements.

Which tube lines will be affected?

As Aslef is the biggest tube driver union the strike is likely to affect the entire Underground network. 

Are there more transport strikes planned for London in the future?

Yes. The RMT confirmed there will be at least a further six months of strikes across the National Rail and the tube in 2023 following a ballot: 94 percent of its members voted to continue industrial action over pay and pensions. On February 10, Mick Lynch said strikes would continue for ‘as long as it takes’, adding that extending strikes to November could be ‘a possibility’. As a large number of RMT members work for London Underground, these strikes could very well affect TfL services. 

Mick Whelan, Aslef general secretary, recently told the government there was ‘zero’ chance of solving the disputes involving National Rail and London Underground soon. 

Unrelated to the strikes, rail engineering works will impact the Easter bank holiday trains as well.

What about the rest of the UK?

The March and April action will be UK-wide. Here are all the details of the UK train strikes.

Who’s on strike today in the UK?

Here’s a full list of striking workers in the UK.

Will strikes affect the Eurostar? 

Eurostar will assess how future strikes will affect its timetable when they are announced. In the past, it has run a reduced timetable, with passengers being able to transfer tickets if their train was cancelled. The latest details are on the Eurostar website.  

Why are train workers striking?

The RMT and Aslef have been fighting for a pay rise and better working conditions for over a year. 

About the March strikes, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Rail employers are not being given a fresh mandate by the government to offer our members a new deal on pay, conditions and job security. Therefore, our members will now take sustained and targeted industrial action over the next few months.

‘The government can settle this dispute easily by unshackling the rail companies. However, its stubborn refusal to do so will now mean more strike action across the railway network and a very disruptive overtime ban.’

In February, Aslef rail workers rejected a pay rise that would amount to around 4 percent a year for two years.

Whelan said: ‘The proposal is not and could not ever be acceptable but we are willing to engage in further discussions within the process that we previously agreed. Not only is the offer a real-terms pay cut, with inflation running north of 10 percent, but it came with so many conditions attached that it was clearly unacceptable.’

For tube workers, the concern is working conditions and pensions. On February 22, Finn Brennan, Aslef district organiser for London, said: ‘The size of these “yes” votes and the large turnouts show that our members are not prepared to put up any longer with the threats to their working conditions and pensions.

‘We understand that TfL faces financial challenges, post-pandemic, but our members are simply not prepared to pay the price for the government’s failure to properly fund London’s public transport system.’

A TfL spokesperson said: ‘We have not proposed changes to anyone’s pensions.’

However, Lynch said: ‘Our members will never accept job losses, attacks on their pensions or changes to working conditions in order to pay for a funding cut which is the government’s political decision. Tube workers provide an essential service to the capital, making sure the city can keep moving and work long hours in demanding roles.

‘In return they deserve decent pensions, job security and good working conditions and the RMT will fight tooth and nail to make sure that’s what they get.’

What will the proposed anti-strike laws mean for rail strikes in London?

Earlier this year, the government announced controversial new industrial action laws. Rishi Sunak’s proposed anti-strike legislation would ensure ‘minimum service levels’ in key public services, including trains, making it pretty difficult for things to grind to a complete halt. 

The law, which the government wants to introduce in the next few weeks, would allow bosses in rail, health, fire, ambulance, education and nuclear commissioning to sue unions and even sack employees if minimum services aren’t met during strikes. 

However, many people, including opposition leader Kier Starmer, have expressed concern that these laws could infringe workers’ fundamental right to strike.

As for London trains, the legislation could make strike action less severe – with a minimum service, it would be less likely for there to be absolutely no tubes, Overgrounds or trains.

Two out of five trains in London were disrupted last year.

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