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When is the following prepare strike in UK? All the things we want about January and February disruption

The dispute between the prepare drivers’ union, Aslef, and 14 prepare operators in England is into its third calendar cyear.

With no settlement in sight to the long and bitter row over pay and dealing preparations, the union has announced its first strikes for 2024.

Train drivers belonging to Aslef will cease work region-by-region over the course of every week between Tuesday 30 January and Monday 5 February. Thousands of trains are prone to be cancelled on every day.

The impact might be exacerbated by a nine-day ban on time beyond regulation operating from 29 January to six February.

But a separate five-day strike referred to as by Aslef aimed particularly at LNER, between 5 and 9 February, has been referred to as off. A spokesperson for the prepare operator stated: “We welcome news that the threat of extended disruption to our services has been lifted.

“We encourage Aslef to work with us to find a way to end this long-running dispute which only damages the rail industry.”

These are the important thing questions and solutions.

Which rail companies are affected?

Aslef is in dispute with the prepare operators which can be contracted by the federal government to supply rail companies. They are:

Intercity operators:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • CrossNation
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Great Western Railway
  • LNER
  • TransPennine Express

London commuter operators:

  • C2C
  • Greater Anglia
  • GTR (Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern, Thameslink)
  • Southeastern
  • South Western Railway (together with the Island Line on the Isle of Wight)

Operators specializing in the Midlands and north of England:

  • Chiltern Railways
  • Northern Trains
  • West Midlands Railway

ScotRail, Transport for Wales, Transport for London (together with the Elizabeth Line), Merseyrail and “open-access” operators comparable to Grand Central, Hull Trains and Lumo usually are not concerned. But their companies are prone to be extraordinarily crowded on stretches the place they duplicate strike-hit firms.

What is the strike schedule?

Monday 29 January: time beyond regulation ban begins.

Tuesday 30 January: South Western Railway, Southeastern and GTR (Southern, Gatwick Express, Great Northern and Thameslink).

Wednesday 31 January: Northern and TransPennine Express.

Thursday 1 February: no strike however time beyond regulation ban continues.

Friday 2 February: Greater Anglia, C2C and LNER (the final of which has an extra strike throughout the next week).

Saturday 3 February: West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast and East Midlands Railway.

Sunday 4 February: no strike however time beyond regulation ban continues.

Monday 5 February: Great Western, CrossNation and Chiltern. LNER strike begins, operating all week to 9 February.

Tuesday 6 February: no strike however time beyond regulation ban continues for a closing day.

What are the probably results of the strikes?

Based on the expertise of the final rolling strikes, these are the expected results – assuming no “minimum service level” motion is taken by the transport secretary, Mark Harper.

They are based mostly on The Independent’s commentary of earlier strikes, and must be confirmed with particular person rail companies.

Great Northern (30 January): No trains.

Thameslink (30 January): No trains.

Southeastern (30 January): No trains.

Southern (30 January): No trains besides a nonstop shuttle service between London Victoria and Gatwick airport, from 6am to 11.30pm.

Gatwick Express (30 January): No trains however the Southern airport shuttle will cowl the bottom.

South Western Railway (30 January): A core service of as much as 4 trains per hour between London Waterloo with Woking, with one prepare every hour prolonged to each Guildford and Basingstoke. A shuttle will run from Basingstoke to Salisbury. Trains may even run between Waterloo and Feltham by way of Richmond and Twickenham. No trains on the Isle of Wight.

Northern (31 January): No trains.

TransPennine Express (31 January): No trains.

C2C (2 February): No trains

Greater Anglia (2 February): Limited service linking London Liverpool Street with Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester; Southend Victoria; Cambridge; and Stansted airport.

LNER (2 February): Regular trains on core routes linking London King’s Cross with Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Avanti West Coast (3 February): No trains. The operator is prone to emphasis “services on the days either side of the strike will also be affected”.

East Midlands Railway (3 February): No trains. Last time the prepare agency warned: “Do Not Travel. No Rail Replacement Bus services will be provided.”

West Midlands Railway (3 February): No trains.

Chiltern (5 February): No trains.

CrossNation (5 February): No trains.

Great Western Railway (5 February): A core service will run between London Paddington and Oxford, Bath and Bristol, with a hyperlink from Bristol to Cardiff. A restricted service on department traces in Devon and Cornwall. The Night Riviera sleeper service from London to Penzance won’t run for quite a few nights. The Heathrow Express can be prone to be affected, with a lowered service between 7am and 7pm solely.

In addition to the disruption on strike days, trains on adjoining days could also be affected. Services on lately are additionally prone to be extraordinarily busy resulting from passengers transferring their journeys to keep away from industrial motion.

What concerning the new minimal service ranges regulation?

Legislation now permits the transport secretary to stipulate minimal service ranges (MSLs) on strike days amounting to 40 per cent of the conventional service.

As far as The Independent is conscious, no prepare operator is searching for to impose the brand new regulation on the prepare drivers’ union.

The Transport Select Committee has beforehand warned of potential unintended penalties of the laws. The Conservative chair, Iain Stewart, stated: “There is a risk of MSLs worsening worker-employer relations and that, as a result, MSLs could end up making services less reliable.”

Is there a ‘worst day’?

Yes. In phrases of sheer variety of passengers hit, Monday 29 January would be the most disruptive. It is aimed toward commuters in southeast England, nearly all of whom use the affected prepare operators.

Intercity travellers might be worst affected on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 February, when the principle operators on the East Coast and West Coast most important traces, in addition to the Midland mainline, might be hit.

Sunday 4 February can be prone to be severely disrupted due to the ban on rest-day working in addition to deliberate engineering work between Birmingham and Wolverhampton on the West Coast most important line and between London King’s Cross and Stevenage on the East Coast most important line.

What would be the affect of the time beyond regulation ban?

The minimal service degree guidelines don’t apply to union bans on non-contractual rest-day working.

The time beyond regulation ban alone will trigger 1000’s of cancellations. Aslef says no prepare operator “employs enough drivers to provide the service they promise passengers and businesses they will deliver without asking drivers to work their days off”.

The common warning to passengers over the past Aslef time beyond regulation ban from 1 to 9 December 2023: “Trains are subject to short notice alterations and cancellations.”

Several rail companies introduced pre-emptive cancellations for the earlier time beyond regulation ban, as follows:

C2C: “Severely reduced service” at weekends, with many trains additionally reduce on weekdays.

Chiltern: Significantly lowered service on most routes, with no trains in any respect on some department traces. “Services on all routes will finish earlier than usual.”

Gatwick Express: No trains throughout the time beyond regulation ban. Southern trains will hyperlink London Victoria and Gatwick airport all through the commercial motion.

London Northwestern Railway/West Midlands Railway: Branch traces between Bletchley and Bedford, Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey, and Leamington Spa and Nuneaton, might be closed on most or all days.

Southern: “An amended timetable with fewer services will run. Services may start later and finish earlier than usual.”

Thameslink warned: “A reduced frequency amended timetable will be in operation.”

On the primary day, many early trains had been cancelled. They embody South Western Railway from London Waterloo to Southampton; Great Western Railway from London Paddington to Weston-super-Mare by way of Bristol and Carmarthen by way of Cardiff and Swansea; and TransPennine Express hyperlinks from Manchester and Newcastle to Edinburgh, in addition to quite a few Manchester-Leeds-Hull companies.

Sunday remains to be not a part of the working week at quite a few prepare operators, so 4 February might be notably disrupted by the ban on rest-day working.

Some trains might limit both boarding or leaving trains at sure stations to keep away from overcrowding.

What if I would like to achieve an airport?

Again, these are predictions based mostly on what occurred final time.

London Heathrow remained accessible always on the Elizabeth Line and the Tube.

Passengers utilizing London Gatwick might be considerably affected on the primary day of strikes, Tuesday 30 January, when all Gatwick and Thameslink trains are prone to stop. But passengers between London, Gatwick and Brighton will get a good variety of trains

London Stansted had an hourly skeleton service from the capital on Tuesday 5 December, with “service alterations” on all the opposite days of the time beyond regulation ban.

Luton airport will stay accessible by rail, at the least from London, on all days: on the Thameslink strike day, 30 January. the East Midlands Railway hyperlink might be operating; conversely on 3 February, when no East Midlands Railway companies are prone to run, Thameslink might be working.

Birmingham airport is prone to be inaccessible by rail, apart from Transport for Wales from Birmingham New Street, on Saturday 3 February.

Manchester airport is prone to be inaccessible by rail, apart from an hourly hyperlink on Transport for Wales to and from central Manchester, Chester and North Wales, on Wednesday 31 January.

Will Eurostar be affected?

No, trains will proceed to run as regular between London St Pancras International and Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. But connecting journeys might be troublesome on strike days – notably Tuesday 30 January, when Thameslink and Southeastern are out, and on Saturday 3 February when no East Midlands Railway companies are prone to run.

What does Aslef say?

In the newest Aslef Journal, common secretary Mick Whelan advised members: “Train drivers are fed up and frustrated that their employers failed to negotiate in good faith, making a proposal through the Rail Delivery Group which they knew would be turned down.

“Aslef members – key workers who kept our country moving through the pandemic – are simply asking for a fair and decent deal.

“We haven’t had a meeting with Mark Harper, the transport secretary, since December 2022. We haven’t had a meeting with Huw Merriman, the rail minister, since January. And we haven’t heard from the employers since April.

“We have always said that we are prepared to come to the table but the government and TOCs need to understand that this dispute won’t be resolved by trying to bully our members into accepting worse terms and conditions of employment.”

What do the rail companies say?

A spokesperson for Rail Delivery Group stated: “Nobody wins when strikes impact lives and livelihoods, and they’re particularly difficult to justify at a time when taxpayers are continuing to contribute an extra £54m a week to keep services running post-Covid.

“Despite the railway’s huge financial challenge, drivers have been made an offer which would take base salaries to nearly £65,000 for a four-day week without overtime – that is well above the national average and significantly more than many of our passengers that have no option to work from home are paid.

“Instead of staging more damaging industrial action, we call on the Aslef leadership to work with us to resolve this dispute and deliver a fair deal which both rewards our people, and makes the changes needed to make services more reliable.”

What does the federal government say?

A Department for Transport spokesperson stated: “It’s very disappointing to see Aslef continuing to target those who travel to work, school or important medical appointments by train.

“Aslf is now the only rail union that is continuing to strike while refusing to put a fair and reasonable offer to its members. The offer that remains on the table and would bring the average train driver’s salary up to £65,000.

“The Aslef leadership should do the right thing and let their members decide their own future, instead of deciding it for them.”

What does the Labour Party say it will do if elected?

The shadow rail minister, Stephen Morgan MP, stated: “Labour will bring our railways back into public ownership, as contracts expire, and ensure services work in the interests of the passenger.”

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