Both RMT and Aslef have announced industrial action and striking across trains servicing London throughout July. The announcement comes in the wake of many months of train strikes as unions have attempted, and failed, to reach an agreement with the governing bodies.
The planned industrial action will affect rail and tube services, with rolling strikes and action short of a strike. The simplest explanation of the train strikes is:
- National rail strike on July 20, 22, 29 (RMT)
- Action short of a strike July 17-22 (ASLEF)
- Rolling Underground strike from July 23 to July 28 (RMT) – This has been cancelled
- Additional Underground strike July 26 & 29 (ASLEF) – This has been cancelled
Read on for a more detailed explanation of what to expect.
RMT has announced strike action for July 20, 22, and 29. The action will see 20,000 RMT members walk out, across 14 rail operators.
ASLEF, meanwhile, has announced action short of a strike from July 17-22. This will find ASLEF members refusing to work non-contractual overtime hours, resulting in possible short-notice cancellations and delays.
As with most instances of industrial action, services could be affected by short-notice alterations or cancellations, and knock-on effects may be felt early on, the day after the action has taken place, or in the afternoon and evening of the day preceding.
The London Underground strike action, which was expected to start on July 23 and run through to July 28 (with the exception of July 24), has been cancelled. Both RMT and Aslef’s strike action has been suspended across the Tube for next week. Find out more here.
Why are they striking?
Recent negotiations have sen some of the union member’s demands addressed, but there is still concern about job security. Following the cancellation of the Tube strikes, RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said:
There has been significant progress made by our negotiating team in ACAS talks with TfL.
However this is not the end of the dispute nor is it a victory for the union as yet.
Our members were prepared to engage in significant disruptive industrial action and I commend their resolve.
RMT’s strike mandate remains live until October and we are prepared to use it if necessary.
We will continue to negotiate in good faith as we always have done with TfL and it was only the steadfast commitment of our members in being prepared to take sustained strike action that has forced the employer to make significant concessions.
Our campaign to defend jobs, conditions and our members pensions will continue in the coming weeks and months.
Will the Overground and Elizabeth Line be affected by the train strikes?
The RMT national rail strike does not impact any services that operate along the TfL network, so the Overground, Elizabeth Line, and DLR are expected to run as normal. They may, however, be significantly busier.
Additionally, buses will continue to operate as normal – albeit also with increased demand.
Can you get a refund when there are train strikes?
According to the National Rail website, “If you purchased an Advance, Off-Peak or Anytime ticket and choose not to travel at all because your service on either your outward or return journey has been cancelled, delayed or rescheduled then you will be entitled to a fee-free refund or change from the original retailer of your ticket.”
National Rail has advised that some tickets for strike days can be used for other dates. If you have bought an Advance, Anytime, or Off-Peak ticket for one of the planned RMT strike days (July 20, 22, 29), see below for a guide to alternative dates when you can use your ticket
- July 20: tickets can be used on July 19, or any other date up to and including July 25.
- July 22: tickets can be used on July 21, or any other date up to and including July 25.
- July 29: tickets can be used on July 28, or any other date up to and including August 1.
Ticket office closures
The strike announcements come amidst considerable scrutiny of the bodies governing public transport, as the Rail Delivery Group has proposed shutting vast swathes of ticketing offices across the country. These offices do more than just sell tickets to customers. They provide assistance and support to ensure that all customers can take advantage of the country’s public transport.
The proposal is currently undergoing a 21-day public consultation from independent watchdog groups Transport Focus and London TravelWatch. Those who wish to respond to the proposal and have their voice heard are encouraged to go to “their local train company websites or visit www.transportfocus.org.uk or Londontravelwatch.org.uk.”
Said Mick Whelan, ASLEF general secretary:
“Ticket offices and properly staffed stations are vital to support the needs of passengers and make our railway a safe and welcoming place for all travellers.
“The impact of removing staff for disabled passengers and those with access needs, luggage or buggies, would be huge and would effectively be saying to those people ‘we don’t want you on our railway’. It’s wrong.”