As strikes by RMT members at Network Rail and 14 rail operators have begun, only around a fifth of rail services are expected to run nationwide on those days.
Trains will run between 7.30am and 6.30pm with a reduced service on main intercity and city lines, with no trains in much of rural England, Scotland and Wales.
Network Rail has warned that the first trains will leave later and the last trains will leave much earlier. Disruptions are also to be expected the morning after each strike.
transport secretary Mark Harper said people were facing another Covid-style “virtual Christmas” following the rail strikes. He told GB News the pay offer for railway workers was “in line with the type of pay rises that take place in the private sector”.
These rail strikes are going to force some families to have another virtual Christmas and I think it’s terrible when the unions have had a very reasonable wage offer.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has said the government should negotiate “fair pay rises” with unions as the UK braces for the economic downturn.
Britain’s economy returned to growth in October following the additional bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral the previous month. However, the government and many economists expect a difficult year ahead. The consensus among the 15 forecasts compiled by the government predicts a drop in GDP of 0.8% next year.
2022 was the worst year for real wage growth in nearly half a century. We are now on the brink of a damaging recession with the threat of a million lost jobs.
Ministers must act now to put money in people’s pockets – starting with raising the minimum wage and giving our public sector workers a cost-of-living pay rise.
And the Prime Minister should stop attacking workers who try to defend their wages and sit down to negotiate fair wage increases with the unions.
Across Britain’s railways, today’s strike is the first day of eight days of disruption expected over the next four weeks.
In practice, disruptions usually carry over to subsequent days as well, as trains are often not in the right places when workers return.
The strike dates for the railways are:
Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December 2022
Friday 16 and Saturday 17 December 2022
Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 January 2023
Friday 6 and Saturday 7 January 2023
The train strikes which begin today will be just the first day of planned disruptions on Britain’s railways. And the railway workers are not the only ones to act: major strikes are planned every day this month.
Nurses, paramedics, Royal Mail workers and large chunks of the civil service will strike for higher pay this month alone.
Here is the full schedule:
Much of Britain’s rail network has come to a standstill as members of the RMT union begin a two-day strike on Tuesday, the first in a series of planned actions as they demand better wages.
The rising cost of living – particularly via rising energy costs – was a key factor in the strike. New data on Tuesday morning from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the impact: real wages (pay packages after the effects of inflation) fell 2.7% in the three months to october.
The ONS said the drop in real wages was up there with the biggest falls on record. Real regular wages fell 3% between April and June this year, but the most recent drop “still remains among the steepest declines in growth since comparable records began in 2001”.
Network Rail’s update told travelers it was ‘inevitable that services would be canceled or seriously disrupted’.
RMT members voted on Monday to reject a final wage offer from Network Rail.
Mick Lynchthe general secretary of the RMT, said last night:
This is a huge rejection of Network Rail’s substandard offer and shows that our members are determined to continue the strike in pursuit of a negotiated settlement.
The government refuses to lift a finger to prevent these strikes and it is clear that it wants to outlaw effective strikes in Britain.
We will stand up to this and our members, along with the entire labor movement, will continue their campaign for a fair deal for workers, decent pay rises and good working conditions.
You can read the full story of yesterday’s latest wage negotiations here: