London train and tube strikes in May and June 2023

Just when you thought the transport misery was over, ASLEF and the RMT have announced more train strikes in May and June.

There were UK-wide strikes across the weekend from ASLEF and RMT, affecting thousands of fans who travelled to Liverpool for the Eurovision final. More are coming to coincide with the the FA Cup Final (June 3), Epsom Derby (June 3), so if you’re heading to any of those events, plan ahead. 

The Elizabeth Line strike, due to take place on May 24, has now been suspended. 

The RMT has just announced a fresh strike for June 2 across 14 train companies. There are also tube strikes on the way after an RMT ballot voted overwhelmingly for underground action today (May 23). 

When are the next London train strikes?

For ASLEF, staff from 16 train companies will walk out on Wednesday May 31 and Saturday June 3. 

For RMT, there will be a walkout on Friday June 2. 

Which London train lines will be affected?

The train operating companies affected — including several which operate in and around London — are: Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; London North Eastern Railway; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway depot drivers; SWR Island Line; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.

The RMT strikes will affect a further 14 companies – more information on which ones to follow soon. 

The Underground, Overground and Elizabeth Line will all run regular services but are expected to be busier than usual.

Will the Elizabeth Line be on strike? 

Operational staff on the Elizabeth Line will no longer be striking on May 24. Workers in the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) were going to walk out in a row over pay, but the union has suspended the strike after receiving a revised proposal from Rail for London Infrastructure. 

Are there any tube strikes?

Underground workers who are RMT members have just voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. Ninety-six percent of people voted ‘yes’ to strikes, but they haven’t announced the dates yet. 

Will strikes affect the Eurostar? 

Eurostar will assess how future strikes will affect its timetable when they are announced. In the past, it has run a reduced timetable, with passengers being able to transfer tickets if their train is cancelled. The latest details are on the Eurostar website.  

Why are UK train workers striking?

The RMT and ASLEF have been fighting for a pay rise and better working conditions for more than a year. 

Most recently, ASLEF rejected what it calls a ‘risible’ offer of a 4 percent pay rise.

Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary said: ‘We do not want to go on strike – we do not want to inconvenience passengers, we have families and friends who use the railway, too, and we believe in investing in rail for the future of this country – but the blame for this action lies, fairly and squarely, at the feet of the employers who have forced our hand over this by their intransigence. It is now up to them to come up with a more sensible, and realistic, offer and we ask the government not to hinder this process.’

A Rail Delivery Group (RDG) spokesperson responded: ‘We urge the ASLEF leadership to re-join us at the negotiating table and work with us to find a solution to the issues our industry faces and so we can give our people the pay rise we have always said we wanted to do.’

The RMT is continuing to refuse offers tabled by RDG. Recently, signal workers and maintenance staff represented by the RMT voted in favour of an agreement that would offer a 5 percent pay rise, but this was derailed. 

The RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘The RDG have reneged on their original proposals and torpedoed these negotiations. No doubt their decision is due to pressure exerted on them by the Tory government.

‘Therefore, we have no alternative but to press ahead with more strike action and continue our campaign for a negotiated settlement on pay, conditions and job security.’

What will the government’s proposed anti-strike laws mean for London?

A bill that would require striking workers to meet ‘minimum service levels’ was debated in Parliament earlier this month (May 9). The bill just passed its third reading in the House of Lords, meaning it is now on to its final stages before being made into law. 

Rishi Sunak’s proposed anti-strike legislation would ensure ‘minimum service levels’ on key public services, including trains, making it pretty difficult for things to grind to a complete halt. 

The law would allow bosses in rail, health, fire, ambulance, education and nuclear commissioning to sue unions and even sack employees if minimum services aren’t met during strikes. 

However, many people, including opposition leader Sir Kier Starmer, have expressed concern that these laws could infringe on workers’ fundamental right to strike.

As for London trains, the legislation could make strike action less severe. With a minimum service, it would be less likely for there to be absolutely no tubes, Overgrounds or trains.

Four British workers on why they’re striking.

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