Members of the RMT union working for 14 practice operators are staging extra walk-outs within the present spherical of strikes.
Since June 2022, nationwide rail strikes in a tangle of disputes about pay, job safety and dealing preparations have induced issues for tens of thousands and thousands of practice passengers.
Since then, stoppages inflicting large disruption for passengers have been known as continuously.
These are the important thing questions and solutions.
Who’s placing when?
The principle rail union, the RMT, has instructed all its members working for 14 practice operators to strike on Thursday 16 March, Saturday 18 March, Thursday 30 March and Saturday 1 April.
The practice companies are these contracted by the Division for Transport. They embrace the main intercity operators:
- Avanti West Coast
- East Midlands Railway
- Nice Western Railway
- TransPennine Categorical
All of the London commuter operators may even be hit:
- Higher Anglia
- GTR (Gatwick Categorical, Nice Northern, Southern, Thameslink)
- South Western Railway
Operators specializing in the Midlands and north of England might be affected:
- Chiltern Railways
- Northern Trains
- West Midlands Trains
A deliberate strike that additionally introduced in employees at Community Rail has been shelved whereas a poll of RMT members takes place.
What is going to the impact be?
Passengers can anticipate regular service on:
- Caledonian Sleeper
- Grand Central
- Heathrow Categorical
- Hull Trains
- London Overground
- Transport for Wales
Trains run by these firms are prone to be extra crowded than regular on routes often shared with practice operators whose workers are placing, similar to London-York-Newcastle-Edinburgh and Swansea-Cardiff-Newport.
The precise proportion of regular companies will range from one practice operator to a different. Figures revealed by the federal government for a strike on 4 January, present that Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway and LNER operated between 1 / 4 and a 3rd of common companies.
On most commuter companies within the London space, the determine was round one in 5.
Worst performer was Northern, which operated just one in 20 of normal scheduled trains.
However the Rail Supply Group (RDG), representing practice operators, says that as many as half the conventional trains might run – although hours are prone to be restricted with many early and late companies cancelled.
The RDG mentioned: “It’s anticipated that nationally between 40 and 50 per cent of practice companies will run, however there might be huge variations throughout the community, with no companies in any respect in some areas.
“It’s possible that night companies on some traces might be affected on the times earlier than every strike. Morning companies on these traces may be disrupted on 17 and 19 March as a result of a lot of the rolling inventory won’t be in the precise depots.“
Will Eurostar be affected?
No, however connections to and from the practice operator’s primary hub at London St Pancras Worldwide might be troublesome as a result of union members working for all three home practice operators (East Midlands Railway, Southeastern and Thameslink) serving the station will stroll out.
Why are they taking industrial motion?
Staff for the practice operators have been supplied a minimal pay rise of 5 per cent for 2022 and 4 per cent for this yr (with extra will increase for lower-paid workers) as a “greatest and last” provide.
However it’s contingent on the union accepting a variety of adjustments to working preparations.
The RMT is demanding “an unconditional pay provide, a job safety settlement and no detrimental adjustments being imposed on members phrases, situations and dealing practices”.
The final secretary, Mick Lynch, mentioned that after “an in-depth session of our 40,000 members” the overwhelming view was reject “these dreadful provides”.
He mentioned: “Our members can’t settle for the ripping up of their phrases and situations or to have security requirements on the railway put into jeopardy underneath the guise of so-called modernisation.
“Our industrial marketing campaign will proceed for so long as it takes to get a negotiated settlement that meets our members’ affordable expectations on jobs, pay and dealing situations.”
The union says the RDG, representing practice operators, invited negotiators to discussions on the present dispute “however on the situation that the deliberate strike motion on 16 and 18 March is suspended”
The RMT declined the invitation however mentioned it’s “out there for discussions …. on making a decision to the dispute by an improved provide”.
What do the employers say?
They’re livid that union members weren’t given the chance to vote on the provides and that the RMT is now demanding an unconditional pay rise.
Members of the white-collar TSSA union voted to simply accept an analogous pay provide from practice operators that stipulates important adjustments to working practices.
Steve Montgomery, Chair of the Rail Supply Group, mentioned: “This newest spherical of strikes might be an additional inconvenience to our clients, who’ve already skilled months of disruption, and value our folks much more cash at a time they’ll least afford it.
“They may even be asking why the RMT management blocked the possibility to resolve this dispute by refusing to offer their members – a lot of whom would have benefited from a 13 per cent enhance – a say on their very own deal.”
Might the strikes be known as off?
Actually not on the primary two days, 16 and 18 March. The federal government, which can finally sanction and pay for the eventual settlement, and the union now seem to have dug in for a battle of attrition.
The federal government is aware of public confidence is being eroded by the unreliability of trains. However the transport secretary, Mark Harper, says: “Modernising working practices have to be a part of reform.”
On the present provides to members working for Community Rail and the practice operators, he says: “Finest and last means what it says.” The railway, he says, is financially unsustainable.
Ministers consider cracks are showing within the solidarity of the union, with rail employees unlikely to recoup the cash they’ve up to now misplaced throughout industrial motion within the type of larger pay.
The RMT management, conversely, is betting that the membership will proceed to obey the strike name, and that finally the federal government will buckle and comply with a no-strings deal.
It’s now a query of who backs down first. Caught within the center: the long-suffering passenger.
I’ve a ticket booked for one of many strike days. What can I do?
The RDG says: “Passengers with Advance, Anytime or Off-Peak tickets for journey on 16 or 18 March can as an alternative use their ticket on the day earlier than the date on the ticket or as much as and together with Tuesday 21 March.
“They’ll even have their ticket refunded with no charge if the practice that the ticket is booked for is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.
“Tickets for journey on 30 March or 1 April can as an alternative use their ticket on the day earlier than the date on the ticket or as much as and together with Tuesday 4 April.
“Passengers with season tickets (flexi, month-to-month or longer), who don’t journey, can declare 100 per cent compensation for the strike dates by Delay Repay. “
Have the practice drivers settled, at the very least?
Removed from it. Prepare drivers belonging to the Aslef union staged their eighth walk-out earlier this month in an analogous dispute about pay with practice operators who’re contracted by the federal government.
They, too, are demanding a no-strings provide. However The Impartial understands talks are continuing positively by the auspices of the Rail Trade Restoration Group and that the edges are inching in the direction of a deal.
This may contain a primary pay rise of seven per cent or barely extra, with additional funds for accepting modernisation similar to incorporating Sunday into the working week the place this doesn’t but occur.
What’s taking place on the London Underground?
Members of Aslef and the RMT union working for London Underground are placing on 15 March, the day earlier than the primary of the subsequent wave of nationwide rail strikes. The unions are in dispute with Transport for London (TfL) over jobs, adjustments to working preparations and pensions.
Mick Lynch mentioned: “Our members won’t ever settle for job losses, assaults on their pensions or adjustments to working situations with the intention to pay for a funding minimize which is the federal government’s political choice.
“Tube employees present an important service to the capital, ensuring town can hold transferring and work lengthy hours in demanding roles.
“In return they deserve first rate pensions, job safety and good working situations and RMT will battle and tooth nail to make it possible for’s what they get.”
Nick Dent, TfL’s Director of Buyer Operations, mentioned: “We have now not proposed adjustments to anybody’s pensions. We have now been working with our commerce unions to see how we are able to make London Underground a fairer and extra sustainable place.
“We wish to make London Underground a greater place to work so we urge Aslef and the RMT to name off this damaging strike and proceed working with us.”
Nearly all Tube companies might be cancelled for the day. The one exceptions are prone to be a couple of far-flung and remoted components of the Underground community, with the central space utterly shut down.