Tube and train passengers face travel chaos today and the coming weeks despite a one-day strike suspension while the RMT considers a new and improved pay offer from Network Rail.
A planned Metro strike begins today and a series of walkouts by rail workers begins again this Thursday, with 14 rail operators preparing for industrial action in March and April.
RMT members at Network Rail were due to strike on March 16, followed by a series of overtime bans and rest day work bans by the rail organisation’s operations and maintenance staff.
The RMT has now suspended this industrial action against Network Rail as union members vote on the latest offer in a referendum, which ends on March 20 at midday.
The new offer includes a pay rise of 14.4% for the lowest paid and 9.2% for the highest paid staff. There is an additional 1.1% in base earnings and enhanced returns.
The RMT said it made no recommendation on how to vote on the bid, which is not dependent on acceptance of Network Rail’s maintenance modernization agenda, which the RMT does not endorse.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We will continue to campaign for a negotiated settlement to all aspects of the rail dispute.”
Which lines are affected in today’s Tube strike?
As well as the train strikes, Underground drivers in the Aslef union and Underground workers in the RMT union are going on strike on Wednesday 15 March, which will affect all London Underground lines. The walkouts, due to start on Budget day, will be seen as an attempt to overshadow Jeremy Hunt’s spring statement.
Thousands of unionized staff will walk out over a dispute over pensions and working arrangements. Probationary train and train drivers on the London Underground also voted to walk out.
Transport for London (TfL) said little to no services are expected across the entire Underground network for 24 hours, with continued disruption lasting until Thursday morning.
The Elizabeth Line and Overground are set to run as normal, but TfL has urged passengers to allow more time for their journey as stations will be much busier than normal with queues expected. The DLR and tram are also expected to operate as normal, but with warnings of reduced station stops due to closures.
The rail workers last went on strike on November 10 after talks failed to resolve a dispute over wages, jobs and conditions.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Our members will never accept job losses, attacks on their pensions or changes to working conditions to pay for a funding cut that is a government policy decision.
“Metro workers provide an essential service to the capital, ensuring the city can keep moving and working 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 they get that.”
When do the train strikes take place?
The suspended strike against Network Rail has no impact on the RMT’s separate pay gap with the rail operating companies.
It means passengers continue to face problems as RMT members at 14 train operators prepare to go on strike for four days at:
- Thursday, March 16
- Saturday, March 18
- Thursday, March 30
- Saturday April 1st
The RMT says it represents around 40,000 workers across Network Rail and its 14 train operators, meaning large parts of the rail network will stop.
Which rail companies will be affected by tomorrow’s train strike?
There are 14 train companies that will be affected by the staff departures, and it is expected that these will be the same ones that have been affected by previous departures. These are:
Cross Country Trains
East Midlands Railway,
Great Western Railway,
South Western Railway
Avanti West Coast,
West Midlands Trains
GTR (including Gatwick Express)
Why are railway workers on strike?
Unions are demanding pay rises for their members who are struggling with soaring inflation, although train operators are limited in how much they can offer as they require a mandate from the government.
Train bosses are also under pressure to cut costs to balance the books, following a fall in the number of people traveling into city centers each day. This means they are looking at bringing in more technology.
Union bosses said they could not accept the so-called modernization efforts as it would lead to “severe reductions in scheduled maintenance work, making the railways less safe, the closure of all ticket offices and thousands of jobs being taken out of the industry. Railways need more investment, not less.”
Will I be able to get a refund if my train is going to be cancelled?
In previous strikes, Network Rail has said that if a train journey is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled, passengers are entitled to a change or refund wherever they bought their tickets.
Season ticket customers were also able to claim compensation through the late repayment scheme, while Network Rail said that “weekly season tickets that have not yet started can be refunded, [although] A £10 admin fee may apply”.