|Disruption on Continues on Trains Around Christmas and New Year|
RMT proceeds with latest round of industrial action
The RMT Union is continuing its current round of planned strikes following the failure of talks with rail management.
Having received the support of its members after reballoting, 40,000 rail staff across Network Rail and 14 train operating companies are taking part in a series of 48-hour strikes.
The remaining strike days are on 3,4,6 and 7 January which effectively means 5 consecutive days of disruption as services won’t return to a full schedule on the days in between the 48 hour strikes.
In addition, there is an overtime ban across the railways from 18 December until 2 January which is likely to lead to further disruption around Christmas and New Year.
Staff at companies operating in London such as South Western Railway and Great Western Railway will be participating and, during previous strikes, disruption has impacted parts of the tube network including the Wimbledon and Richmond branches of the District Line due to the participation of signalling staff working for Network Rail.
The RMT blames government interference in negotiations for the failure to reach a settlement and claims that Network Rail have failed to make an improved offer on jobs, pay and conditions during the last two weeks of talks. In addition, the union says that the Rail Delivery Group, representing the train operating companies, cancelled negotiations that were due to take place earlier this month.
Network Rail says it has offered to extend the period of no compulsory job losses until early 2025.
Tim Shoveller, Network Rail's chief negotiator, said, "What's clear for all of us is that striking is not changing the railway's precarious financial position, but actually only making it worse. The railway has not recovered from the pandemic and is currently losing millions a day, which makes reaching a deal both tough and essential."
The Prime Minister's spokesman criticised the unions involved in the strikes, saying, "They are damaging the economy, stopping hard-working people from getting to work, to reaching hospital appointments, to going to school.
"I think everyone is well aware of the serious financial challenges the rail industry faces following the pandemic and the need for reform."
The train drivers' union ASLEF has also announced strikes for 5 January. A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, said, “Further strikes – on top of those already announced by the RMT - will disrupt the new year travel plans of millions, taking even more money out of the pockets of railway staff.
“Industrial action has already cost the industry millions in lost revenue, and more strikes threaten the industry’s long-term sustainability. No one wants to see this strike go ahead, and we can only apologise to passengers and to the many businesses who will be hit by this damaging disruption.
“We want to work with Aslef to end this dispute that is harming passengers, the industry, and their members.”