Train strikes: August update

Image above: Cancelled trains at Chiswick Station

Industrial action and overtime bans to affect rail services 

Major industrial action on London’s railways is due to take place this week. The strike action, organised by the RMT and ASLEF, is part of their ongoing fight for a pay rise and better working conditions. Here’s everything we know about the situation right now.

ASLEF has announced a week-long overtime ban from July 31 until August 5, which will seriously disrupt services at 15 rail companies. Following this, an additional overtime ban for ASLEF train drivers will take place from Monday, August 7, to Saturday, August 12.

As of now, there are no tube strikes planned for London in August, but the ongoing train strikes could still cause disruptions to some services – especially at Gunnersbury Station which is used by both rail and Tube services.

The Elizabeth line is not set to be affected by the next round of strike action.

The ASLEF overtime ban will affect a wide range of train lines in and around London. The lines that will be impacted are:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • Chiltern Railways
  • Cross Country
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Greater Anglia
  • Great Western Railway
  • GTR Great Northern Thameslink
  • Island Line
  • LNER
  • Northern Trains
  • Southeastern
  • Southern/Gatwick Express
  • South Western Railway main line
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains

Image above: RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch, ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan

Why are UK train workers striking?

The RMT and ASLEF have been fighting for a pay rise and better working conditions for more than a year.

Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, said:

“We do not want to go on strike – we do not want to inconvenience passengers, we have families and friends who use the railway, too, and we believe in investing in rail for the future of this country – but the blame for this action lies, fairly and squarely, at the feet of the employers who have forced our hand over this by their intransigence.

“It is now up to them to come up with a more sensible, and realistic, offer and we ask the government not to hinder this process.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said:

“This latest phase of action will show the country just how important railway staff are to the running of the rail industry. My team of negotiators and I are available 24/7 for talks with the train operating companies and government ministers.

“Yet quite incredibly neither party has made any attempt whatsoever to arrange any meetings or put forward a decent offer that can help us reach a negotiated solution. The government continues to shackle the companies and will not allow them to put forward a package that can settle this dispute.

“Our members have now voted 3 times to take strike action over the last 12 months – the most of recent of which coincided with having the full details of the substandard offer from the rail operators.

‘They voted by 9-1 to renew their strike mandate and RMT will continue its industrial campaign until we reach a negotiated settlement on pay, working conditions and job security.”

What will the government’s proposed anti-strike laws mean for London?

The government is considering anti-strike legislation that would require striking workers to meet ‘minimum service levels.’ This legislation could make strike actions less severe, as it would ensure essential services like trains continue to operate during strikes.

Critics say these laws will infringe on workers’ fundamental right to strike. The bill is currently in its final stages before being passed, and many are closely watching its implications for the future of industrial action in the UK.

The law would allow managers in rail, health, fire, ambulance, education and nuclear commissioning to sue unions and even sack employees if minimum services are not met during strikes.

As for London trains, the legislation could make strike action less severe. With a minimum service, it would be less likely for there to be absolutely no tubes, Overground services or trains running.