Strikes in November and December: mail, rail, tube and bus services face disruption

Image above: Royal Mail workers striking in Chiswick in September

Christmas plans disrupted as key industries strike

A number of unions in key industries have announced strike dates over in November and December which will affect public services including mail, rail, tube and buses.

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

The Royal College of Nursing recently announced nurses would go on strike, saying NHS nurses have suffered a real-terms pay cut of 20 per cent since 2010. No official dates have been confirmed for strike action yet, but nurses are expected to begin striking before Christmas.

Civil servants will also be going on strike from mid-December, though no dates have been finalised. The general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union said these strikes would be tailored to cause maximum disruption across public services, including passport and border checks, driving tests and farm payments, throughout the Christmas period.

See below for the strikes expected to affect London and Chiswick.

Image above: a RMT picket line in west London 

Rail strikes 

Train strikes have been going on for months, but they show no signs of stopping yet. Transport union Aslef has said it is still waiting for a pay offer from rail operators, with a series of talks ongoing.

Earlier this month the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) called off strike action to enter further negotiations with rail bosses after a new pay offer was made, which the union hailed as a victory, but the Rail Delivery Group and Network Rail cancelled a meeting on Monday evening at the last minute, ceasing all talks with the RMT.

Further strike action across the rail network before Christmas now seems likely. RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said:

“We can sense the hand of the Tory government in this as we believe they are not allowing an offer to be made.”

Images above: RMT Gen Sec Mick Lynch, Aslef Gen Sec Mick Whelan

Aslef rail strikes set to go ahead this Saturday (26 November)

In a separate dispute, train drivers represented by Aslef will walk out on Saturday 26 November. The action is likely to bring many services by following 12 operators to a complete halt:

Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; LNER; London Overground; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Transpennine Express and West Midlands Trains

Aslef General Secretary Mick Whelan said he was saddened passengers would be inconvenienced but said the union had been left with no choice but to strike.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, urged union members to reconsider the “counterproductive strike action” to instead work with companies to “secure both a pay deal and the changes needed it for it to thrive in the long-term and improve reliability across the network.”

Image above: a shuttered Tube station

Tube strikes resume on Friday (25 November)

The next Tube strike is planned for Friday (November 25) and will affect only a few key stations, unlike previous network-wide strikes.

If it goes ahead, the stations may open later and close earlier or at short notice. Tube trains will run as normal from other points along the line.

According to TfL, these stations are likely to be affected: Euston, Green Park, Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3, Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Terminal 5, Hatton Cross, Hounslow West, King’s Cross St Pancras and Victoria.

TfL have encouraged customers to check before travelling by using their online tools.

No further Tube strikes have been announced yet, but more could be announced in the run up to Christmas.

Image above: an Abellio operated bus 

Bus strikes resume on Tuesday (22 November)

Bus strikes begin on Tuesday 22 November and will mostly affect services in south and west London.

The dispute is a result of the bus operator Abellio failing to enter into meaningful pay talks, despite the Unite the Union indicating that it was prepared to do so. Workers’ pay is due to increase from January 2023, but Abellio have yet to make an initial pay offer. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said Abellio’s failure to even enter into meaningful pay talks was “cold-hearted and callous.”

Strike action is planned for the following days: Tuesday 22 November; Friday 25 and Saturday 26 November; Thursday 1, Friday 2 and Saturday 3 December; Friday 9 and Saturday 10 December & Friday 16 and Saturday 17 December.

Which routes are affected?

The following routes will be affected:

Day routes: 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

Route 481 will operate but with fewer services on weekdays from 7.30-8.00am, and from 3.00-4.00pm. Remaining services will be busier than normal.

24-hour routes: 24, 111, 159, 285, 344, 345

Night routes: N3, N27, N63, N68, N109, N207, N381

School routes: 671

Image above: Chiswick Sorting Office closed during a strike day

Royal Mail workers extend strike action to Christmas Eve after “unacceptable” pay offer 

Royal Mail workers associated with the Communication Workers’ Union have extended their programme of planned strikes after members said they “simply [could not] agree to” to company’s recent pay offer.

The union have now announced further strike action on Friday 9 December, Sunday 11 December, Wednesday 14 December, Thursday 15 December, Friday 23 December and Saturday 24 December. This is in addition to the action already going ahead this week on Thursday and Friday (24 and 25 November) and next week’s action on Wednesday 30 November and Thursday 1 December. 

Workers who sort and deliver parcels and letters will walk out as part of the strikes, affecting sorting offices in west London including Chiswick, Acton, Brentford and Ealing. Royal Mail said they would do what they can to keep services running, but said customers would likely face disruption.

The CWU said Royal Mail needed to “wake up” and realise the union would not allow the company to “destroy the livelihoods of postal workers”.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said:

“Our preference is for an agreement with the CWU, but the change we need is not optional. They should be focused on a resolution to this dispute for their members and the long-term health of the business, rather than damaging strike action.”

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