The rail industry is reminding passengers to only travel by train if necessary at the weekend due to continued RMT strike action on Saturday which will lead to a significantly reduced rail service across the country.
With around 20% of services due to run, passengers are urged to plan ahead and check before they travel throughout the whole weekend. Trains will start later on Saturday morning and finish much earlier than usual – with services typically running between 7.30am and 6 30pm on the day of the strike.
Passengers who must travel by train are urged to plan ahead and ensure they can complete their journeys in good time. For example, last services between London and Scotland will depart in the early afternoon.
The full rail network will be open on Sunday 26 June, but some disruption is still expected and passengers should continue to check before they travel. The RMT deliberately chose to strike in this way to cause as much disruption as possible, with insufficient time between strike days to recover to a normal service.
Steve Montgomery, Chair of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We are very disappointed that the RMT leadership has decided to continue with tomorrow’s strike, and the union leadership has chosen to take action which will severely inconvenience the millions of people who had plans over the weekend.
“While we are doing our best to minimise disruption to passengers, our advice is to only travel if it necessary, and if you are going to travel, please plan ahead. If you’re not able to travel, you can use your ticket either the day before or up to two days after the strike, otherwise you will be able to claim a refund.
“Two years after Covid struck there has been a huge change in how we use the railways, with fewer people commuting and more people travelling at weekends. The RMT leadership must work with us to bring outdated working practices, such as voluntary working only on a Sunday, out of the past so that we can adapt to changing travel patterns, take no more than our fair share from the taxpayer and achieve a pay offer that works for our people.”
Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Unfortunately, the RMT’s decision to carry out another day of needless and premature strike action means our passengers will suffer again on Saturday.
“A fraction of trains will run compared to a usual Saturday service, with trains starting later in the morning and finishing much earlier in the evening. I am really sorry to our passengers for the inevitable disruption to their journeys and their weekend.
“For anyone who needs to travel, please plan your journey carefully and check before setting off.
“We remain at the table and ready for talks, day or night, and will do everything we can to avoid further disruption for our passengers.”
If passengers choose to travel and their service is cancelled due to industrial action, they can use their ticket for travel the day before or up to two days after strike activity has ended, otherwise they will be entitled to a refund from where they bought their ticket.
Passengers with a season ticket that is monthly or longer, or have an activated days’ worth of travel on a flexi season ticket and they choose not to travel on 25 June, they can claim 100% compensation for these days through the delay repay scheme. Further information is on the National Rail website.
A revised timetable has been in operation that prioritises key freight routes to ensure the continued movement of vital goods such as fuel and supermarket supplies, and includes as many passenger services that can run safely.
This week’s strike is likely to have cost the rail industry up to £150m in lost revenue and costs associated with aborting upgrade works. This undermines the industry’s recovery from the pandemic and wasting money that could otherwise have gone towards funding a pay increase for employees.
Further information on refunds is available on the National Rail Enquiries website.
- All train operators will be affected by strike action regardless of whether they have an individual dispute with the RMT or not, as Network Rail’s signallers control train movements across the entire country.
- Although the network will only be open from 7.30am until 6.30pm on Saturday 25 June, electricity to tracks and overhead lines will stay on throughout, as will patrolling by security staff, police and from the air.
- We strongly refute the RMT figure of train operator profits and is based on projections, rather than reality. Figures published by the Office of Rail and Road show last year train operators made a total of £75m in profits, with a profit margin of only 0.6%.
- On outdated working practices, these are all part of the package of reforms we need to make:
- Full shift off: If an employee is rostered for a medical appointment, eye test or drugs and alcohol test, they are not expected to work during that shift, which means they are released for the entire shift duration.
- Redeploying train crew who cannot do safety critical work to ticket offices (or other roles) but retaining their substantive salary indefinitely (case by case basis). For example, an ex-driver could earn £60k in a ticket office for a job that pays £25k or an ex-conductor can earn £33k for a cleaning role that pays £20k.
- Some agreements have ‘Stood Off’ arrangements where an employee can’t do their substantive role so they can sit at home for 12-months on full pay before they can be exited from the company.
Proposed changes to the TOC sections of the Railway Pensions Scheme have been made in response to an investigation over several years by the Pensions Regulator. Not responding to the regulator’s challenges around funding and investment strategy could have resulted in enforcement action.