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Eurovision Song Contest and the FA Cup Final are finally happening. But will the travellers be able to reach the location? Let’s see.
The main rail union in the UK is calling for strikes, which is why the trains are getting cancelled. The association has called for more walkouts in May and June. In this series of rebellions, staff will stop the work at more than a dozen train operators and commuter rail firms.
Let’s dive in!
Inflation in the UK is rising more than ever. These rising costs have affected the cost of living too. Unions demand their pay offer should reflect these inflated costs as well. However, the rail industry is too scared after the pandemic shattered its budget. Now they wish to save, and increasing the pay scale of the rail workers is missing from their priority list.
The Rail Delivery Group, which acts on behalf of 14 train companies, proposed a deal offering rail workers a retroactive pay increase of 5% for 2022, followed by discussions with individual operators to unlock a second year’s pay raise.
However, the RMT union rejected the deal because it required them to call off the ongoing strike before entering into negotiations for the second year’s pay raise. The Aslef union declined a two-year offer.
This offer would have given drivers a backdated pay rise of 4% for 2022 and a 4% raise for this year. The RMT had a separate disagreement with Network Rail, but they accepted a revised offer that increased salaries by 14.4% for the lowest-paid grades and 9.2% for the highest-paid grades.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average salary for rail workers in 2022 was estimated to be £45,919, considering five job categories. However, excluding drivers’ wages, the average comes down to £39,518. Despite this, the RMT union argues that the estimated average is still inflated since it doesn’t include the wages of rail cleaning staff, which are not considered rail workers by the ONS.
The RMT union represents workers across 14 train companies. Recently, it announced that its members would stage a strike on May 13th.
In addition to the strike action, the union is also conducting a ballot among its members to obtain a mandate for additional action. Meanwhile, train drivers in the Aslef union have also planned strikes on May 12th, May 31st, and June 3rd, coinciding with the FA Cup final.
It is worth noting that a recent dispute involving RMT members and Network Rail has been resolved following the union members’ acceptance of a revised pay deal. The strike action by RMT and Aslef members may result in significant disruptions to train services. This will affect commuters and travellers alike. The respective unions have not yet disclosed the exact reasons for the strike. However, it is likely related to pay, working conditions, or benefits.
Aslef, the train drivers’ union, has issued a strike notice to all its members working for 16 train operators contracted by the Department for Transport. This strike will occur on Friday, May 12th, Wednesday, May 31st, and Saturday, June 3rd. The affected train operators include major intercity operators.
These operators are East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, LNER, TransPennine Express, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, and many London commuter operators such as GTR (Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern, Thameslink), Greater Anglia, and Southeastern, among others.
Additionally, the strike action will be accompanied by a ban on non-contractual overtime on May 13th, May 15th to May 20th, and June 1st. Meanwhile, the RMT union has also called for a strike on May 13th, involving the same train operators and c2c, which operates between the City of London and south Essex.
The authorities expect the strike action to cause significant disruptions to train services across
England, particularly in the Midlands and north.
Most services in Scotland and Wales will operate normally on all the strike dates. However, trains on these routes will likely be more crowded than usual. The crowded routes are likely to be: London-York-Newcastle-Edinburgh and Swansea-Cardiff-Newport.
The exact reasons for the strike need to be clarified. But authorities expect drivers to go on strike because of pay, benefits, and work conditions. The unions have tried to put forward their opinion, but the leaders are too adamant to stay on their opinion.
This is precisely why the union is angry and frustrated. The train drivers’ union will conduct the strike on Friday, May 12th, Wednesday, May 31st, and Saturday, June 3rd. This will impact all the travellers travelling to Eurovision Song Contest and the FA Cup Final.