After members of the RMT rail union voted 8:1 in favour of strike motion over jobs, pay and circumstances, their union has referred to as nationwide rail strikes for three dates in late June.
Union members at Network Rail and 13 practice operators will stage 24-hour walkouts on 21, 23 and 25 June.
What may the impact be? And are different disputes on the horizon?
These are the important thing questions and solutions.
What is that this dispute about?
Britain’s greatest rail union, the RMT, has referred to as three days of business motion at each Network Rail and 13 practice operators over pay, redundancies and “a guarantee there will be no detrimental changes to working practices”.
It says: “Network Rail and the train operating companies have subjected their staff to multi-year pay freezes and plan to cut thousands of jobs which will make the railways unsafe.”
The union’s basic secretary, Mick Lynch, has vowed “a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system”.
When precisely are the strikes?
Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June. The industrial motion is more likely to have an effect on providers instantly earlier than and after the strike dates, in addition to the intervening Wednesday and Friday.
The strike coincides with quite a lot of huge occasions in late June:
- 22-26: Glastonbury
- 23 By-elections at Tiverton & Honiton and Wakefield
- 23-27: England v New Zealand cricket Test (Leeds)
- 24-25: Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (London)
- 24-26: British Athletics Championships (Manchester)
- 24: Elton John Hyde Park gig
- 25: Armed Forces Day
- 25: Rolling Stones Hyde Park gig
The stoppage may additionally have an effect on college college students who journey by practice; it coincides with historical past and physics exams.
The pattern over the previous few years in rail disputes is for a collection of 24-hour strikes to be referred to as. That limits the monetary hit sustained by placing employees, however nonetheless causes widespread disruption.
How huge was the bulk in favour of placing?
Of the 71 per cent of members who voted, 89 per cent backed strike motion. This represents 63 per cent of the workforce balloted, numbering greater than 25,000 employees.
According to the RMT, it’s “the biggest dispute on the network since 1989” and can contain 40,000 employees.
Just remind me about Network Rail and the practice operators …
Network Rail is the infrastructure supplier. The most crucial roles within the day-to-day working of the railway are the signallers, who quantity round 5,000.
Train operators are assigned a patch of the community on which to run trains. Those whose RMT members voted in favour of strike motion are:
- Avanti West Coast
- Chiltern Railways
- East Midlands Railway
- Greater Anglia
- South Western Railway
- TransPennine Express
- West Midlands Trains (together with London Northwestern Railway)
At one practice operator, GTR, backing was too low to move the brink for a strike. GTR runs Southern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Great Northern providers in southeast England.
What will the impact be of a 24-hour strike?
Assuming all Network Rail signallers stroll out, administration and different employees ought to have the ability to cowl about 20 per cent of the community for about 12 hours per day. It is probably going that solely predominant traces can be served, primarily these radiating from London:
- West Coast predominant line to Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool
- East Coast predominant line to Leeds, York and Newcastle
- GWR to Bristol and Cardiff
In addition, key commuter traces serving London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds can be saved open.
But there can be strict limits on the quantity of site visitors alternative signallers may deal with. On many traces, no trains would run in any respect.
Even on these traces which have signalling, strikes by employees for practice operators may imply that fewer than one practice in 5 runs.
The direct financial injury is estimated at £30m per day.
How will the passengers reply?
Rail journey habits have basically modified because the begin of the coronavirus pandemic, with many former commuters capable of do business from home. For them, the strikes can be irrelevant.
Key employees who should be current at their place of employment – from well being service employees and lecturers to hospitality workers – can be badly affected.
Some leisure and enterprise passengers might abandon plans to purchase Advance tickets for summer season dates due to the specter of a stoppage.
The authorities is encouraging a pattern from rail to highway by elevating rail fares and reducing gas responsibility. This pattern is more likely to speed up if a strike is known as.
What are my rights if my practice is cancelled?
You are entitled to a full refund. Train operators won’t meet claims for different transport.
What does all sides say?
The RMT says: “We have a cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1pc and rising.
“Rail companies are making at least £500m a year in profits, whilst fat cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This unfairness is fuelling our members anger and their determination to win a fair settlement.
“RMT is open to meaningful negotiations with rail bosses and ministers, but they will need to come up with new proposals to prevent months of disruption on our railways.”
Steve Montgomery, group chair of the Rail Delivery Group, representing practice operators, stated: “No one wins in the event of a strike. Staff lose pay, the industry loses vital revenue making it harder to afford pay increases, and passengers and businesses are disrupted.
“While we will keep as many services running as possible, sadly if this action goes ahead, significant disruption will be inevitable. We therefore urge passengers to plan their journeys carefully and find alternative ways to travel during the strike period where possible.”
Ultimately the federal government will resolve what will be supplied. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, stated: “It is incredibly disappointing the RMT have decided to take action that could drive passengers away from the rail network for good.
“The pandemic has changed travel habits – with 25 per cent fewer ticket sales and the taxpayer stepping in to keep the railways running at a cost of £16bn, equivalent to £600 per household. We must act now to put the industry on a sustainable footing.”
Could we see an extended strikes?
Unlikely. The choice of the RMT union is for repeated one-day strikes.
There are a number of exceptions, comparable to the South Western Railway strike in December 2019, by which RMT members took industrial motion for nearly all the month in a dispute over the position of guards. The practice operator ran about half its regular providers.
Anything else within the offing?
Transport for Wales and ScotRail weren’t concerned within the RMT poll – however ScotRail is at present cancelling 700 trains per day because of a dispute involving the practice drivers’ union, Aslef.
The white-collar rail union, TSSA, is threatening what its basic secretary referred to as “a summer of discontent”. Members are being consulted forward of a potential strike poll if pay fails to maintain tempo with inflation – which hit 9 per cent final week.
Ministers say they could mandate a minimal stage of staffing. How would that work?
Before the strike announcement, the transport secretary informed The Sunday Telegraph that ministers are looking at drawing up laws which would make industrial action illegal unless a certain number of staff are working to make sure minimal service ranges.
Similar legal guidelines are in place in different international locations – and are sometimes invoked when air-traffic controllers cease work.
But Mick Lynch stated: stated: “Any attempt by Grant Shapps to make effective strike action illegal on the railways will be met with the fiercest resistance from RMT and the wider trade union movement.
“We have not fought tooth and nail for railway workers since our forebears set up the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants in 1872, in order to meekly accept a future where our members are prevented from legally withdrawing their labour.”