Weekend rail strikes: Passengers disrupted as services grind to a halt

Rail workers will be striking across August in a dispute over pay and conditions Credit: PA

Rail strikes have returned today and are bringing fresh travel disruption across the Midlands.

Thousands of workers are walking out in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Members of the train drivers' union ASLEF and the TSSA union have announced they will be walking out for twenty-four hours on Saturday August 13th.

Separately members of the RMT and Unite unions across fourteen train companies and Network Rail are preparing for two days of industrial action on August 18th and August 20th.

Rail bosses say its also likely the day after each strike due to the knock-on impact from reduced staffing and services.

They warn there will be a significantly reduced timetable in operation between Thursday 18th - Saturday 20th.

At a glance: What services will be impacted across the Midlands and when?

Saturday 13th August

Strike action by ASLEF members at West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry.

East Midlands Railway services are not affected by strike action but are advising people to check before they travel.

Due to industrial action, West Midlands Railway services will not operate and people are advised not to travel by rail at all.

Platforms at Birmingham New Street will be closed during this time - although through access via the station concourse will still be maintained.

Thursday 18th and Saturday 20th August

Mass strike action will take place and is likely to affect all UK train operators, even if they are not directly part of the dispute (RMT, Unite and TSSA members)

West Midlands Railway services will be running to a reduced timetable on the following routes:

  • Birmingham - Northampton - London Euston

  • Birmingham - Wolverhampton - Crewe

  • Lichfield - Birmingham - Bromsgrove / Redditch

Other routes will not be served

As a very limited service will be in place during this time, passengers are advised to only travel by rail if absolutely necessary on these dates.

EMR services will operate between 0730 and 1830 only. Additionally, there will only be:

- One Train per Hour between Derby and Matlock

- One Train per Hour between Derby and Nottingham

- One Train per Hour between Leicester and Nottingham (Stopping Service)

On Saturday 20th, aside from the above all other lines of route will be closed and Rail Replacement Bus services will not be provided

Why are workers striking and what are those involved saying?

Workers involved in the various strikes say they are taking action over pay and conditions.

Unions are calling for a pay increase in line with the cost of living, saying workers have not received a pay increase for three years and are increasingly struggling to make ends meet due to the cost of living crisis.

There are also concerns around potential job losses and working conditions, including unsocial hours and safety on the job.

Widespread disruption is expected for passengers Credit: PA

Extensive talks have been held in recent weeks, but the dispute shows no sign of easing.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch called the latest pay offer from Network Rail “paltry” and said it amounts to a real-terms pay cut for workers over the next two years.

"Our members have lost thousands of pounds in earnings due to a pay freeze in recent years and they refuse to be short-changed again," Mr Lynch said.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary, said: “The Tories’ cost-of-living crisis is the worst in living memory.

"Essential items like food, energy and clothing costs are going through the roof yet the Government has chosen to pick a political fight with rail workers."

Network Rail said a two-year, 8% deal with a no-compulsory-redundancy guarantee and other benefits and extras was on the table. The Transport Minister Grant Shapps has criticised RMT for rejecting the pay offer, saying in a statement that the union was "hell-bent on causing further misery for people across the country".

While Network Rail’s chief executive Andrew Haines agreed, saying that the RMT seemed “hell-bent on continuing their political campaigning, rather than compromising and agreeing a deal for their members.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said it was "simply untrue to claim no worker has had a pay rise in three years".