Strikes affect train, bus, tube and airport services, healthcare and mail deliveries over Christmas and into the new year

Image above: the RMT’s General Secretary Mick Lynch on a picket line in London

Christmas of discontent 

Strikes continuing through December and into January will affect services including mail, rail, ambulances, hospitals, airports, tubes and buses.

Public transport is particularly affected in Chiswick & west London, with services from Chiswick and Gunnersbury stations hit as well as some bus routes.

As the cost of living continues to bite with inflation rising to 11.1%, workers want their pay packets increased in line with inflation, and some also have specific grievances over pensions and working conditions.

See below how the strikes are expected to affect London and Chiswick.

Image above: SWR train at Chiswick Station

Train strikes

Passengers hoping to get a train from Chiswick station will find either there will be no trains or the service will be disrupted and unpredictable from Saturday 24 December until Sunday 8 January.

On strike dates there will be significant disruption to rail services across the UK. South Western Railway, which services Brentford, Kew Bridge and Chiswick Stations, is one of the 13 private rail operators affected by industrial action by the RMT.

SWR services will be disrupted in some shape or form, which means services will be disrupted for 16 consecutive days:

  • Christmas Eve (24 December) – early shutdown at 3.00pm with last trains departing as early as 12.00pm. SWR advice: only travel if absolutely necessary
  • Christmas Day (25 December) –  no service
  • Boxing Day (26 December) –  no service
  • 27 December – late start-up from 12.00pm with some first trains starting much later. SWR advice: only travel if absolutely necessary
  • 28 December – 2 January: services between 7.00am and 10.00pm only. SWR advice: check your whole journey before you travel
  • 3-4 January – services run between 7.30am to 6.30pm only. SWR advice: only travel if absolutely necessary
  • 5 January – first trains depart from 7.30am, no further timetable update. SWR advice: only travel if absolutely necessary
  • 6-8 January – services run between 7.30am to 6.30pm only. SWR advice: only travel if absolutely necessary

Check South Western Railway schedule of industrial action for updates here: South Western Railway

Other companies affected by strike action are: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, London North Eastern Railway, London Overground, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Transpennine Express and West Midlands Trains.

Rail industry bosses say changes need to be agreed to afford pay increases and ‘modernise’ the railway, which is disputed by union bosses who point to ‘excessive’ profits of private train operators.

Image above: Gunnersbury Station

District Line and London Overground services at Gunnersbury station

While there are no Tube strikes planned over the next few weeks, the RMT strikes will affect services from Gunnersbury station.

Most London Underground services will continue to run, but there will be some disruption on the Elizabeth Line, the Bakerloo line between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone and on the District Line between Richmond and Turnham Green and Wimbledon and Parsons Green. There is no service on any TfL routes on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

Staff on the London Overground services will be taking strike action. Transport for London say:

24 & 27 December: 

  • Journeys must be complete by 3.00pm on the District Line between Wimbledon & Parsons Green and Richmond and Turnham Green.
  • Journeys must be completed on the Bakerloo Line between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone.
  • Journeys must be completed on the London Overground by 11.00am on Stratford to Richmond/Clapham Junction, Gospel Oak to Barking and Romford to Upminster.
  • Journeys on London Overground services from Euston to Watford Junction, Highbury & Islington to Clapham Junction/ Crystal Palace/ West Croydon/ New Cross must be completed by 1.00pm.
  • Elizabeth Line journeys must be completed by 2.00pm

January 2023

Strikes affecting these services are planned on:

  • Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 January 2023
  • Friday 6 and Saturday 7 January 2023

Check Transport for London’s schedule for strike action for further updates here: Transport for London

Image above: an Abellio bus

Bus strikes

There are strikes planned on Abellio bus services. On strike days, TfL said they will aim to run as many services as possible, but disruption is expected.

Most routes which are affected are in south and west London. Other services not affected by strikes will be busier than normal.

On the days after strikes, a good service will be running by approximately 6.00am, say TfL. There are bus strikes on these dates:

  • Christmas Eve (24 December)
  • 27 December
  • New Year’s Eve (31 December)
  • 4 & 5 January
  • 10 January
  • 12 January
  • 16 January
  • 19 January
  • 25 & 26 January

Routes affected

  • Day routes affected: 3, 27, 45, 63, 68, 109, 130, 156, 195, 196, 201, 207, 267, 270, 278, 315, 322, 350, 367, 381, 407, 415, 427, 433, 464, 482, 490, 969, C10, E5, E7, E10, E11, H20, H25, H28, H26, P5, P13, R68, R70, S4, U5, U7, U9
  • 24-hour routes affected: 24, 111, 159, 285, 344, 345
  • Night routes affected:N3, N27, N63, N68, N109, N207, N381
  • School routes affected: 671

Image above: Heathrow Airport British Airways check-in

Border staff strikes

Around 1,000 Border Force staff who work in passport control will walk out over Christmas at UK airports including Gatwick and Heathrow.

About 75% of Border Force staff are members of the PCS union, which balloted for strike action after it said the government had refused to increase a 2% pay rise offer. As a result British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have stopped selling new tickets for inbound flights to Heathrow on the days Border Force staff strike over Christmas.

Military personnel, civil servants and volunteers are being trained to check passports when Border Force staff walk out on 23-26 and 28-31 December.

The Home Office has warned passengers should expect disruption to their journeys.

Image above: a Royal Mail worker

Mail strikes

Postal workers plan strikes on 23 and 24 December after the Communication Workers’ Union extended their programme of strikes in response to a recent pay off by Royal Mail, which the union said was “unacceptable”

The CWU also objects to proposed changes to working conditions, including compulsory Sunday working. They added the Royal Mail needed to “wake up” and realise the union would not allow the company to “destroy the livelihoods of postal workers”.

Royal Mail said it will do what it can to keep services running during the strike action, but it cannot fully replace the daily efforts of its frontline workforce. During strikes, deliveries are affected. The last day for Christmas post were 12 December for second class and 16 December for first class mail.

In a statement released last Monday (12 December) Royal Mail urged CWU members to accept their “best and final” offer for pay and change.

“The revised offer includes extensive improvements that have been made during the negotiations with the CWU, including an enhanced pay deal of 9 per cent over 18 months and a number of other concessions to terms and agreements.

“We’re urging CWU leadership to accept the change and pay offer, call off future damaging strike action, for the good of our customers and our people.”

Image above: Doctors and nurses

NHS strikes – ambulance staff and nurses

Some 10,000 ambulance staff in England and Wales will walk out on Wednesday 21 and 28 December. The strike action is being led by three major unions: Unison, GMB and Unite.

Ambulance crews will respond to all category 1 calls, for conditions such as cardiac arrest, which need to be responded to in an average of seven minutes. Ministers say it is “likely” that category 2 calls, for serious conditions such as stroke or chest pain, will also be responded to by striking crews, but this is not confirmed. These calls require an average response time of 18 minutes.

Nurses will similarly walk out on Tuesday 20 December and their union, the Royal College of Nursing, has warned of further strike action in the weeks ahead should the Government refuse to come to the negotiating table with serious pay offers.

Unions representing NHS workers are asking for staff pay rises above inflation, but the Health Secretary Steve Barclay says that is “unaffordable”.

NHS officials say that, regardless of any strike action taking place, it is important that patients who need urgent medical care come forward as usual, meaning you should still call 999 and go into the hospital if you feel that you need to. Despite this, both sets of unprecedented industrial action are likely to seriously disrupt care.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Roadworks threaten congestion over Christmas period

See also: Argentinians in Chiswick celebrate a nailbiting World Cup final

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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