Fresh UK rail strikes announced in run-up to Christmas

Passengers warned of travel disruption as workers at Avanti West Coast and Eurostar join widescale action

Further train strikes have been announced by rail staff, stoking fears of severe travel disruption for millions of passengers over the festive period as the transport system is struck by widescale industrial action.

It comes as RMT announced that security staff working for Eurostar will strike for four days in the run-up to Christmas, action the union said would “severely affect” services and travel plans.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said that staff in operational, station, and onboard roles will take action at beleaguered train operator Avanti West Coast on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December.

Further industrial action is scheduled for 17 December at c2c which serves a number of stations between east London and south Essex.

Action short of a strike, which means TSSA members will only carry out contractually required duties, will take place in the run-up to Christmas across a dozen train operating companies and Network Rail.

Meanwhile, disruption is expected in the capital on Thursday as thousands of bus drivers strike in London for seven days in December.

TSSA’s fresh action comes as rail passengers face further disruption with a flurry of industrial action on the rail network in December.

Members of the RMT working for Network Rail and the 14 train operating companies will strike on 13-14 and 16-17 December, with a further two strikes on 3-4 and 6-7 January.

TSSA organising director, Luke Chester, said: “We have decided to push ahead with further industrial action because it’s vital that the train companies and the government understand that our demands are not going away.

“Our union has spent the past three weeks in talks, and though some progress has been made, it remains the case that ministers are just not willing to open up space for a negotiated settlement.”

Network Rail and the Department for Transport have been approached for comment.

Workers who clean trains and railway stations are also striking on 22-23, and 31 December.

More than 1,000 contracting cleaning staff working for the likes of Churchill, Atalian Servest and Mitie could strike in the dispute over pay, conditions and pensions, say RMT.

RMT’s general secretary Mick Lynch met the transport secretary, Mark Harper, for the first time last week for talks, but there was no breakthrough in the long-running dispute.

Border Force staff have also voted for industrial action, raising the prospect of lengthy queues at airports and ports all over the country as people visit friends and family over the festive period.

The Guardian revealed earlier this week that soldiers standing in for Border Force members of the PCS union will wear their uniforms while checking passports.

And security staff working for Eurostar will walk out on 16, 18, 22 and 23 of December in a dispute over pay.

More than 100 staff, employed by facilities management company Mitie, are expected to take part in the industrial action.

RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “Eurostar security staff are essential to the running of Eurostar, and it is disgraceful they are not being paid a decent wage.

“They work long unsocial hours and a multimillion-pound company like Mitie can easily afford to pay them decently for the essential work they do.”

A Eurostar spokesperson said: “We are aware that negotiations between Mitie and the unions are ongoing. If there is any impact on services we will update customers as soon as possible.”

A spokesperson for Mitie said: “We’re disappointed that RMT has made the decision to undertake industrial action, given we have already offered a significant pay increase and pay negotiations are ongoing. We remain open to continuing these discussions.

“In addition, we recently announced a £10m winter support package, designed to help the lowest paid colleagues across Mitie with the rising cost of living.

“As always, our priority is to ensure that exceptional services are delivered as normal so that passengers are able to continue their journeys with minimal disruption.”

Elsewhere in the economy, NHS workers, such as nurses, paramedics and 999 call handlers, have also backed stoppages in a ballot.


Joe Middleton

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Rail strikes: showdown talks planned as country comes to a standstill
Unions, ministers and industry bosses to meet amid wide-scale disruption caused by only 20% of rail services running

Joe Middleton and Joanna Partridge

14, Dec, 2022 @6:07 PM

Article image
Rail strikes: trains halted as passengers face weekend of disruption
Aslef and RMT unions deny targeting Eurovision final in Liverpool with stoppages in long-running pay dispute

Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent

12, May, 2023 @1:58 PM

Article image
Train drivers to hold first of three rail strikes in England this week
Aslef members will hold widespread stoppages on Wednesday and Saturday, while RMT crew and station staff will strike on Friday

Joe Middleton

30, May, 2023 @4:00 PM

Article image
Rail industry and RMT resume talks amid hopes of end to strikes
But drivers’ union Aslef set to reject initial pay offer from train operators, meaning resolution is some way off

Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent

16, Jan, 2023 @5:49 PM

Article image
RMT and train operators reach breakthrough in national rail row
Union drafts memo with companies to ballot members on new offer to backdate pay rises and give more job guarantees

Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent

08, Nov, 2023 @11:58 PM

Article image
Unions urge ‘final push’ to save England’s rail ticket offices
Public consultation on cost-cutting plans ends on Friday, as drivers strike again over jobs and pay

Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent

01, Sep, 2023 @4:00 AM

Article image
Train and tube strikes: week of disruption looms for passengers
Action by railway drivers in England and London Underground workers will halt and delay many services

Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent

29, Sep, 2023 @12:39 PM

Article image
Christmas rail strikes still on, says Mick Lynch after meeting minister
‘Until we get tangible outcome, action will be on,’ says RMT leader after talks with transport secretary

Gwyn Topham

24, Nov, 2022 @4:30 PM

Article image
Rail strikes: passengers face fresh wave of weekend disruption
People urged only to travel if absolutely necessary on last weekend before Christmas

Gwyn Topham and Christy Cooney

17, Dec, 2022 @5:00 AM

Article image
Rail strikes: more talks this week to avert shutdown in Britain
Tickets will be refunded if national strikes go ahead, Rail Delivery Group chair says

Gwyn Topham and Joanna Partridge

08, Jun, 2022 @2:40 PM