London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

December train strikes: Extra train strikes planned over Christmas

December train strikes: Extra train strikes planned over Christmas

Extra rail strikes have been scheduled over the Christmas period, the RMT union says.

Staff at Network Rail - about half the workers involved in a pay dispute - are expected to walk out from 6pm on Christmas Eve until 27 December.

A new offer was made by the company on Sunday but the union is urging members to reject it.

Network Rail accused the RMT of using passengers and workers as "pawns in a fight with the government".

"They are playing fast and loose with people's Christmas plans and the new strike dates announced deliberately target vital engineering work designed to improve the railway," Tim Shoveller, Network Rail's chief negotiator said.

The RMT represents rail industry workers at Network Rail, who maintain the railways, as well as workers at train operating companies. The union is involved in two sets of talks in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and working conditions.

Planned strike action - due to start next week and continue into January - will also go ahead, the union added.

As well as the strikes on 24 - 27 December, industrial action at 14 train companies across four 48-hour periods will take place on:

*  13-14 December

*  16-17 December

*  3-4 January

*  6-7 January

Passengers had already been warned to plan their travel well in advance over Christmas, with some 5% of the rail network shut for engineering works - although many trains do not run over Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The RMT union is putting a new offer from Network Rail to its members in an electronic referendum, which will close in a week's time. But they are being urged to reject the offer, which its general secretary Mick Lynch said was "not acceptable".

Network Rail had said the latest offer was its "best and final". It includes:

*  A 5% pay rise this year and 4% next year

*  No compulsory redundancies for workers who are not managers and controllers until 31 January 2025

*  A 75% discount on leisure travel for staff and their family members

The inflation rate, which measures how prices change over time, increased to 11.1% in October.

Nigel Goddard says he will not be able to see his son and granddaughter over Christmas


Nigel Goddard in Croydon says the industrial action means that his family's Christmas has been "ruined".

He will not be able to see his son in Newcastle this December, and will miss visiting his six-month old granddaughter over the holidays.

"We have three possible days that we can meet up for Christmas lunch but there are strikes on all three of the days," he told the BBC.

The last time Nigel saw his son was September 2021. He said he will also miss out on his staff Christmas party.

"Mick Lynch needs to get into the real world and realise he is crippling the railways," he added.

The RMT also rejected the first offer from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

Its talks are separate to negotiations with Network Rail, which maintains the railways throughout Britain and employs signallers and maintenance workers.

The group had proposed a number of changes to working practices which it said would help to fund a pay rise for staff of 4% this year, backdated to the beginning of the financial year, followed by another 4% next year.

These include repurposing or closing ticket offices, with staff having new "multi-skilled" roles and Sunday working where it is not in place already. Other proposals by the RDG to "secure the future of the industry" included drivers operating the train doors in more areas, although it insists guards would still be on board.

There would also be a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies until April 2024.


'Compelled to take action'


Following a meeting to discuss the offer with the union's executives, Mick Lynch, RMT union general secretary, said it was "unfortunate that the union had been compelled to take this action".

"We remain available for talks in order to resolve these issues but we will not bow to pressure from the employers and the government to the detriment of our members," he added.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the latest developments were "incredibly disappointing".

"The RMT has failed to play its part and our rail network now faces more harmful disruption rather than helpful discussion," he suggested, pointing towards the fact that a smaller union, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), is putting an offer to its members from Network Rail.

The TSSA had been due to strike on 17 December, but that has been called off.

The RMT, along with other rail unions who have also been striking, is seeking pay rises that keep up with the surging cost of living as well as improvements to working conditions.

But pubs, restaurants and cafes have said they are worried that if the rail strikes go ahead in the upcoming weeks they will be severely affected, as Christmas is usually their busiest time of the year.

UK Hospitality recently warned that the strike action will cost the sector about £1.5bn in lost sales.

About 40,000 rail workers across Network Rail and train companies are expected to walk out. There is likely to be disruption in the days around the strikes as well due to trains not being in the right places.

The rail industry is under pressure to save money after the pandemic left a hole in its finances, and bosses say reforms are needed to modernise the railway and make pay rises affordable.

Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
Homeless Man Turns in Wallet with 2,000 Euros at Amsterdam Station
Apple Faces EU Charges Over Digital Markets Act Violation
Macron Warns of Civil War Risk as French Elections Approach
Julian Assange Freed After US Plea Deal
Chaotic Portugal Win Over Turkey at Euro 2024
Global Headlines: Hajj Heatwave Tragedy, Flynn's Family Enterprise, and Rising Geopolitical Tensions
Political Shifts in France, Legal Battles in the UK, and Public Protests in Israel
UK's Richest Family Convicted for Exploiting Servants
Hollande Declares End to Macron’s Political Ascendancy
Hindujas Appeal Swiss Court's Human Trafficking Verdict
Prince William Celebrates Birthday at Taylor Swift Concert
Singapore to Implement Screen Time Regulations for Children
Hello and welcome back. Here we are with your latest news update from around the world.
Hello and welcome back. Here are today's top stories from around the world, you don't want to miss:
UK PM Sunak and the Election Betting Scandal
Climate Activists Target Taylor Swift's Private Jet in UK
United States Bans Kaspersky Antivirus
US to Supply Taiwan with Suicide Drones Amid Rising Tensions with China
Bodyguard of UK Prime Minister Arrested for Alleged Election Betting
Global Displacement Crisis: Record Numbers in 2023
Muslim Community Leader Criticizes Nigel Farage for Undermining Muslims
Melinda Gates Discusses 'Horrible' Divorce from Bill Gates
Child Obesity Surge in England: A Deep Concern
U.S. Sues Adobe Over Hard-to-Cancel Subscriptions
Deadly Heat Wave Claims Dozens of Lives During Hajj Pilgrimage in Mecca
Here are today's top worldwide stories you don’t want to miss:.
World’s Largest Pilot Union Calls to Eliminate Terms Like ‘Cockpit’ and ‘Manpower’ for Equity
Woman Suing UK Intel Services Denies China Spy Allegations
Iran Sentences Nobel Laureate Narges Mohammadi to 1-Year Prison Term for Propaganda
News roundup
Good day, everyone! We've got some gripping stories for you today, spanning from the Middle East to Europe, and even a touch of Hollywood.
Britain’s Refugee Visa Rules Stranding Children in War Zones
UK Elections Predict ‘Electoral Extinction’ for PM Sunak’s Conservative Party
Italian Activist Ilaria Salis Returns Home After Election to European Parliament
Good morning!
England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns
Dermatologist Warns Against Sunbed Usage
Fake Pro-Reform UK Social Accounts and Their Influence on Elections
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
Reform UK Surpasses Conservatives in Historic Poll
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
Taylor Swift Fans Create Seismic Activity in Edinburgh
Sunak Aide Under Investigation for Election Bet
Labour Leader Starmer Focuses on Wealth Creation for Upcoming UK Elections
G7 to Use Frozen Russian Assets for $50 Billion Ukraine Aid
Anti-Israel Irish MEP Clare Daly LOST her seat in the EU Election
Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Safety Claims for $700 Million
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
×