February vows to be another month full of train strikes and travel chaos following severe disruption over the festive period and five days of continuous industrial action in early January.
It recently announced that there would be further train strikes in early February after Aslef union bosses rejected a pay offer from rail companies. They’ll be joined on strike dates by RMT members at 14 rail operators. The walkout on February 1 plans to coincide with a Trades Union Congress day of action, involving several unions coordinating their strikes during the cost-of-living crisis.
The February strikes are the latest in a string of walkouts that have taken place on the rail network since the summer of last year. But it’s not only rail employees who have been walking out – December witnessed turmoil across the country, with nurses, bus motorists, bin workers, teachers, and more taking to the picket lines during the suitable time. Teachers, driving examiners, and highway workers have had more strikes this month.
The following rail strikes are scheduled for February 1 and 3, when train drivers from the Aslef union will walk out at 15 companies.
The parties affected by the Aslef walkout include Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, London North Eastern Railway, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway, SWR Island Line, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains.
RMT partners will also strike on February 1 and 3, impacting companies including Thameslink, Southeastern, and Southern. The strikes will also act as Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Great Northern, London North Eastern Railway, Gatwick Express, and others.
How will rail journeys be affected by the strikes?
On strike days, around 80 percent or more of services expect to cancel. Many routes will also start later and finish earlier, and there will likely be a knock-on effect on benefits on the following days. Travelers urge to check their way and avoid using the railways if possible.
Will assistance on the following days be affected?
There could be some disruption in the afternoon and evening of January 31, as well as on February 2 and the morning of February 4. This would be the case if trains and drivers were out of their planned position due to the strikes.
How many trains will run?
There will likely be a near or total shutdown on Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Gatwick Express, Greater Anglia, Great Northern, Thameslink, Northern, Southeastern, and TransPennine Express lanes.
In Wales, many trains will run, and ScotRail will be honest.
Do employees get paid when on strike?
UK law states that employers do not have to pay employees participating in industrial action. However, some unions save some money by issuing strikers with ‘strike pay’ while they occupy picket lines. For example, the RMT has the National Dispute Fund, funded by union membership payments as well as donations from members of the public.
When will the rail walkouts end?
Members of the RMT union operating at Network Rail and 14 train companies recently voted in favor of further strike action, which means passengers could face another six months of disruption.
Unless unions and rail operators deal on pay, job security, and working conditions, strikes could likely continue into spring 2023.
Why are rail hirelings striking?
Different unions are striking for various reasons – including job security and working conditions – but the overarching reason is a cut in real-terms pay.
Rail workers in the Aslef marriage are walking out because they have shared a real-terms pay cut over the past three years due to inflation and rising living costs, with union leaders criticizing Network Rail’s ‘paltry’ pay offers.
Meanwhile, the RMT is striking in response to an endless debate over working conditions, job security, and pay. Unions that previously staged strikes, including the TSSA, said they needed assurances over job security and working practices. In contrast, Unite union members, responsible for managing and controlling the rail network’s power supply, said they’d not received a pay increase for three years.
What’s the deal with working methods?
Due to changes in traveling habits following the pandemic, with fewer commuters and off-peak train travel, some bosses want to change previous ‘archaic’ working practices, present new technology, and run teams more efficiently. Unions worry this may lead to job cuts, and it’s one of the most controversial issues in the dispute.
Can I get a refund if my train cancels?
According to National Rail, if your train canceles delayed, or rescheduled due to the industrial action, you will:
• Be qualified for a change or refund from the original retailer of your ticket
• Be able to use your key with another train company or an alternative route if it is available