London train strikes in February and beyond: everything you need to know

What dates are the tube, train and Overground strikes?

It may be a new year, but it’s the same old story when it comes to London’s trains. After lots of disruption over the festive period and throughout January, rail and Overground strikes are continuing into 2023. 

Aslef has just announced two more strike days on Wednesday February 1 and Friday February 3, after rejecting another pay offer. 

Which London train lines will be affected?

The February strikes will disrupt some of London’s biggest commuter services, including Thameslink, Southeastern and Southern. 

Other lines that will be affected include Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Great Northern, London North Eastern Railway and Gatwick Express.

Are there more transport strikes planned for London in the future?

Yes. The RMT has confirmed that there will be a further six months of strikes across the National Rail and the tube in 2023 following a ballot: 94 percent of its members voted to continue industrial action over pay and pensions. As a large number of RMT members work for London Underground, these strikes could very well affect TfL services. 

Additionally, Aslef, the main tube drivers’ union, will also ballot its members over more strikes that will shut down the Underground. The union will ask its 2,000 members to vote on action over feared changes to working conditions and pensions. The result is expected on February 15, meaning tube strikes could be in early March. 

Mick Whelan, Aslef general secretary, recently told the government there was ‘zero’ chance of solving the disputes involving the National Rail and tube soon. 

What about the rest of the UK?

The February Aslef action will be UK-wide. You can find all the details here.

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 was cancelled. You can keep up with all the latest details here.  

Why are train workers striking?

The RMT and Aslef have been fighting for a pay rise and better working conditions for a year. 

In the most recently announced strikes, Aslef rail workers rejected a pay rise that would amount to around 4 percent a year for two years.

Whelan said: ‘The proposal is not and could not ever be acceptable but we are willing to engage in further discussions within the process that we previously agreed. Not only is the offer a real-terms pay cut, with inflation running north of 10 per cent, but it came with so many conditions attached that it was clearly unacceptable.’

As for the RMT, in a statement about the January strikes, Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said: ‘This latest round of strikes will show how important our members are to the running of this country and will send a clear message that we want a good deal on job security, pay and conditions for our people.

‘We have been reasonable, but it is impossible to find a negotiated settlement when the dead hand of government is presiding over these talks. The employers are in disarray and saying different things to different people, sometimes at the same time.’

For tube workers, the concern is working conditions and pensions. On January 9, Finn Brennan, Aslef district organiser for London, told the Evening Standard: ‘TfL and the government are due to announce the details of their pension proposal by the end of this month. Our members have been very clear that they will not stand passively by while the income they expect in retirement is drastically slashed.’

‘Using the buzz words of “flexibility” and “modernisation”, TfL want to make huge cuts to staff numbers and increase the workload of those remaining at the same time as removing the agreed procedures on discipline and attendance management,’ he added.  

What will the proposed anti-strike laws mean for rail strikes in London?

Earlier this month, the government announced controversial new industrial action laws. Rishi Sunak’s proposed anti-strike legislation would ensure ‘minimum service levels’ in key public services, including trains, making it pretty difficult for things to grind to a complete halt. 

The law, which the government wants to introduce in the next few weeks, 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 Kier Starmer, have expressed concern that these laws could infringe workers’ fundamental rights.

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

Two out of five trains in London were disrupted last year.

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