The RMT Union has announced more strike action to take place on the railway network in December and January.
Members of that union — 40,000 workers in total, split across Network Rail and the train operating companies — will take place in four 48-hour strikes across a four-week period, on:
- Tuesday 13-Wednesday 14 December;
- Friday 16-Saturday 17 December;
- Tuesday 3-Wednesday 4 January;
- Friday 6-Saturday 7 January.
Update 6 December: The RMT has announced that its members will additionally be striking from 6pm on Christmas Eve until 6am on 27 December (though there's no service on 25 and minimal service on 26 December anyway). Some operators are warning that services will wrap up very early on Christmas Eve; Southeastern is advising passengers to finish journeys by midday on 24 December, with no trains running after 3pm; Southern too is saying that its services could finish as early as midday on Christmas Eve.
Update 20 December: Separately, ASLEF has now announced that its members will be striking on Thursday 5 January — which means that strikes are planned every day between Tuesday 3 and Saturday 7 January, making the first week back to work after the Christmas break tricky.
Though the full extent of the disruption on individual train companies isn't yet known, it'll likely have an impact on the last full Christmas shopping weekend before the big day, and the first week back at work after the Christmas break, not too mention many people's Christmas party plans.
The RMT Union is enforcing an overtime ban between 18 December and 2 January. Again, we don't know exactly what that'll look like for passengers yet, but it doesn't sound like using the railways during the holiday period will be an entirely seamless experience.
These latest strikes come as the RMT claims that "industry bosses failed to offer any new deals to reach a settlement". Ultimately, its members are asking for improved job security, pay and working conditions, and called off previous planned strikes in the autumn to allow extra time for negotiations.
Still, after the last two Christmasses were disrupted for many people due to Covid, we can't imagine anything that may disrupt this year's festive plans being popular with the public.