Rail strikes in October to target Conservative conference

Train operators are understood to have been notified of two 24-hour walkouts on 1 and 5 October

Disruption to rail services across Britain will resume after the Queen’s funeral, with drivers at 12 train operating companies staging further coordinated strikes at the start of October.

Operators are understood to have been notified of two 24-hour walkouts on 1 and 5 October, which would affect services across the country and bring rail chaos at the beginning and end of the Conservative party conference in Birmingham.

The Aslef union declined to comment and said it would not be making any statement until Tuesday out of respect for Queen Elizabeth II.

Strikes that had been scheduled by Aslef and the RMT union for 15 and 17 September were called off by rail unions on news of the death of the monarch.

However, it was expected that further action would resume in a longstanding dispute over pay and working conditions on the railway, with train operators unable or unwilling to meet demands for a pay rise in line with the cost of living.

The operators affected, who are unlikely to run any trains on strike days, include Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, CrossCountry and West Midlands Trains, all of which directly serve Birmingham, where the Conservatives will hold their annual conference, the first under Liz Truss’s leadership.

The other firms at which drivers will strike are Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, LNER, London Overground, Northern, Southeastern and TransPennine Express.

The other strikes postponed after the news of the Queen’s death have yet to have new dates confirmed.

They include action that had been announced at the start of this month by the RMT, which had said about 40,000 of its members working at Network Rail and 14 train operating companies would strike on 15 and 17 September. The TSSA rail union had also cancelled planned industrial action for 26 September, and said it would be “respecting the period of public mourning”.

Royal Mail workers had also been due to stage the second day of a 48-hour strike on Friday last week in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The strikes follow a summer of industrial action across the country, including by barristers, BT workers, Post Office staff and some employees of bus and bin operators.

Earlier this week, the Unite union announced a second eight-day strike at Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port, would begin on 27 September.

Contributor

Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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