More than 40,000 workers across Network Rail and 14 train operating companies who are members of the RMT union will stage a series of walkouts over the next few weeks as part of a long-running dispute over wage stagnation and working conditions
Industrial action is due to take place throughout the Christmas period, with members walking out from 6pm on 24 December until 7am on 27 December, potentially making it awkward for some to get home to their families.
Most trains do not run on Christmas Day and Boxing Day anyway, but those who might have hoped to travel by rail on the 25 and 26 will be affected.
Further walkouts will then take place on 3, 4, 6 and 7 January 2023.
What’s more, the ASLEF union of train drivers has since announced that its members will also strike over pay on 5 January, occuring in the middle of the RMT walkouts and leaving rail commuters stranded for five consecutive days.
ASLEF, which represents 96 per cent of train drivers in England, Scotland and Wales, announced that workers with 15 companies, including Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway and Great Western Railway, had voted for the strike.
“We feel that we’ve been compelled to take this action due to the intransigence of the government,” RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said of his union’s actions.
“We’ve been faced with an extremely detrimental offer and our members simply aren’t in a position to accept the changes the companies have put on the table.”
Mr Lynch had earlier said that the RMT is “sorry to inconvenience” the public this Christmas but urged people to “direct your anger and frustration at the government and railway employers during this latest phase of action”.
Network Rail’s chief negotiator, Tim Shoveller, said the union was “playing fast and loose with people’s Christmas plans” saying the latest strike dates “deliberately target vital engineering work designed to improve the railway”.