Dispute surpended

Nationwide rail strikes called off at eleventh hour

Mick Lynch RMT
Mick Lynch: rail employers have seen sense

Railway unions have suspended a series of strikes that were due to start tomorrow and cause a week of chaos for travellers. 

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said it would NOT go ahead with walk-outs on 5, 7 and 9 November, but that the “current dispute remains very much live”.

The union, which represents rail workers, said it would now enter “a period of intensive negotiations” with Network Rail and the rail companies.

The strikes involved staff at Network Rail, which employs signalling workers across England, Scotland and Wales.

TSSA also announced it was calling off planned rail strikes on 5, 7, 8 and 9 November after receiving an invitation to “intensive talks” from the Rail Delivery Group. 

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the threat of strike action “has made the rail employers see sense”.

“We have always wanted to secure a negotiated settlement and that is what we will continue to push for in this next phase of intensive talks.

“Our priority is our members, and we are working towards securing a deal on job security, a decent pay rise and good working conditions.”

He also warned that if the union felt the need to take strike action during the next six months, it would.

TSSA Interim General Secretary Frank Ward said “We have always said that strikes are a last resort, and we are glad to finally be invited to the first set of formal talks with train operators in months. However, it is ridiculous that the invitation was only issued less than six hours before our strikes were due to begin. 

“This will cause rail travel disruption across the weekend, as train companies won’t have time to reinstate cancelled services. This would have been completely avoidable if the Rail Delivery Group and their paymasters at the DfT, and Transport Secretary Mark Harper had invited us to talks sooner.”

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “It is positive that the RMT leadership have stepped back from the brink and called off their strike action.

Glasgow station and ScotRail
Services should be back to normal by mid-week (pic: Terry Murden)

“Unfortunately, the late notice means that while train companies are working hard to reinstate services, they will remain severely disrupted for our passengers tomorrow and into the early part of next week.

“Our advice remains to please check before you travel and on Saturday and Monday, only travel by rail if necessary.

“We remain committed to intensive negotiations to agree the reforms needed to improve reliability, deliver a pay rise for our people and get the industry back on a sustainable financial footing.”

Ticketing and refund policy for passengers on strike days remains in place on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. If passengers have tickets for travel on 5, 7 and 9 November, these can still be used on the day before the date on the ticket or up to and including 11 November.

If passengers have a Season Ticket that is monthly or longer, or have an activated days’ worth of travel on a Flexi Season ticket, they can claim 100% compensation for these days through Delay Repay.

ScotRail restoring services

ScotRail is working to reintroduce the full timetable as soon as possible. Due to the complexity of the process and the short period of time available, the limited timetable that was due to operate during the planned strike action will remain in place for tomorrow (Saturday, 5 November).  The timetable is as follows between the hours of 07.30 and 18.30: 

  • Edinburgh Waverley – Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High: two trains per hour 
    Edinburgh Waverley – Helensburgh Central: two trains per hour (on 5 November this will operate Edinburgh Waverley – Dalmuir only due to pre-planned engineering works)
  • Glasgow Central – Hamilton/Larkhall: two trains per hour
  • Glasgow Central – Lanark: two trains per hour
  • Edinburgh Waverley – Glasgow Central via Shotts: one train per hour
  • Edinburgh Waverley – Cowdenbeath: two trains per hour
  • Edinburgh Waverley – Tweedbank: two trains per hour
  • Edinburgh Waverley – Larbert: one train per hour
  • Glasgow Queen Street – Larbert: one train per hour
  • Glasgow Queen Street – Falkirk Grahamston: one train per hour
  • Milngavie – Springburn: two trains per hour 

ScotRail said it will update customers on the resumption of its full timetable as soon as possible and is encouraging customers to check their journey before they travel over the coming days. 

David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said:   “ScotRail welcomes the announcement that planned strike action on 5, 7, and 9 November by RMT members at Network Rail has been suspended.

“Strike action does nothing for the railway’s recovery or reputation at this fragile time. It impacts customers, staff, and the economy.

“We’d encourage anyone planning to travel by rail over the next few days to check their journey before travel on our website or social media channels.” 

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