Two national rail strikes have been announced for September (so far), taking place on Thursday 15th September and on Monday/Tuesday 26th/27th September.

The first strike

The first strike on the 15th September is by Aslef members, which is mainly the train drivers, and will affect 12 of the UK’s train operating companies. As it’s train drivers going on strike, the impact is expected to be considerable.

“We regret that, once again, passengers are going to be inconvenienced,” said Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary. “Because we don’t want to go on strike – withdrawing our labour, although a fundamental human right, is always a last resort for a trade union – but the train companies have forced our hand.”

ASLEF members at 12 companies will go on strike for 24 hours on the Thursday, but expect disruption to start on Wednesday evening, and continue into Friday morning.

The affected train companies are:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • Chiltern Railways
  • CrossCountry
  • Greater Anglia
  • Great Western Railway
  • Hull Trains
  • LNER
  • London Overground
  • Northern Trains
  • Southeastern
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains

The second strike

Staff who are members of the TSSA rail union will walk out at lunchtime on Monday 26th September for a 24-hour strike. Due to the lunchtime timing of the walkout, it’s likely to affect services from mid-morning on Monday through to late Tuesday afternoon.

Although the TSSA union is the smaller of the main three rail unions, its staff are heavily represented in station staff supplied by the train companies., as well as some control and signalling operations at Network Rail. The smaller size of the union membership and the nature of the roles they work in means that while disruption will last for longer, it will be on a smaller scale than the big national strikes held by the RMT and Aslef in recent months.

Their strike action is being timed to coincide with the Labour Party Conference, being held in Liverpool.

TSSA union leader Manuel Cortes says that the Department for Transport (DfT) is blocking attempts by the train operating companies to negotiate a higher pay offer than the 2 per cent that they’ve been offered.

Commenting, Cortes said: “The dead hand of Grant Shapps is sadly stopping DfT train operating companies from making a revised, meaningful offer.”

“Frankly, he either sits across the negotiating table with our union or gets out of the way to allow railway bosses to freely negotiate with us, as they have done in the past.”

Away from the train operating companies, he said that negotiations are ongoing with Network Rail and the gap towards a resolution is narrowing.

Although the DfT argues that it cannot intervene in the negotiations, Network Rail is a non-departmental public body accountable to the Secretary of State, and through its Operator of Last Resort, also owns the LNER and Southeastern train companies.

The train operating companies that will be affected by the TSSA strike are:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • c2c
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Great Western Railway
  • LNER
  • Southeastern
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains

Updated 4:15pm: The original article was about TSSA strike – then Aslef announced a strike as well.


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  1. LMonroe says:

    Yawn. Before the pandemic they could have increased their pay this way but they can’t any more. People can WFH so transport strikes are ineffective.

    I hope Shapps repeats the ‘no overtime the next day’ direction to the train operators so the strikers genuinely lose their pay.

    More generally, the noises I have been hearing about reforming strike laws seem extremely promising. Banning many types of strike by law, limiting others, and imposing greater liability on the unions and strikers will massively reduce inconvenience for passengers.

    • Gary says:

      They can always work to rule which effect the travelling public more.

    • RayC says:

      It is also rather inconvenient to have low pay offers, something which I imagine laconic LMonroe either does not suffer, or envies those seeking pay to keep up with obvious events. Shapps lacks credence and is part of a government in denial of the National crisis. Trains are essential for more than just commuting to work, a strangely narrow viewpoint.

  2. harry says:

    It’s good to see that at least one of the unions has recognised that it’s Grant Shapps that’s causing the problem, much more so than TFL and the Mayor.

    If our next PM (whoever it is) has any sense, their first job will be to appoint a replacement with a fresh mandate that will benefit not only London but the whole country.

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