In what is considered the most significant walk out that the country has ever seen, members across 15 of the biggest train operating companies voted in favour of strike action.
Three dates in June have been confirmed, with railway companies readying the releases of a much-changed timetable.
But how will all this impact the lives of Bristolians? Here is everything you need to know; from why the strikes are happening, to when they are scheduled, as well as their impact on travel plans.
Why are railway workers striking?
Railway strikers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking across Network Rail and 15 train operating companies.
With a turnout of 71%, 89% voted in favour of strike action.
The aim of the strike action is to demand talks with officials at Network Rail to settle the railway workers dispute over pay, jobs as well as health and safety.
This was announced on Tuesday, 25 May 2022.
In a statement issued at the time it was made official, the Railway, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (RMT), general secretary Mick Lynch said the following:
“Today’s overwhelming endorsement by railway workers is a vindication of the union’s approach and sends a clear message that members want a decent pay rise, job security and no compulsory redundancies.
“Our NEC will now meet to discuss a timetable for strike action from mid-June, but we sincerely hope ministers will encourage the employers to return to the negotiating table and hammer out a reasonable settlement with the RMT."
When are the RMT strikes happening?
Made official on Tuesday, 7 June, three dates have been decided upon when the strike action will take place.
It is understood that trade unionists decided on the three days of the week that are statistically the Railway Network’s busiest times post-pandemic.
By law, trade unions must give an employer a minimum of 14-days notice of any industrial action.
The Railway Network strike will fall on 21, 23 and 25 June, bringing a halt to railway services for a week.
How will Bristolians be impacted by the RMT Strikes?
Out of the 15 participating train operating companies, three operate highly-popular transport routes to and from areas in and around Bristol.
These are; Great Western Railway (GWR), CrossCountry and South Western Railway.
With drastically reduced train services, this is set to have a seismic impact on the lives of Bristolians; but how? Here is everything you need to know.
Travelling for work purposes
Many of the impacted train lines will cause problems for Bristol residents that use the railway service often to travel to and from work; especially those who work in popular and bigger cities such as London.
Great Western Railway, Cross Country and South Western Railway all operate train routes to areas like the capital, and they are all but surely set to operate with far less services meaning huge demand for little supply - so it is more or less guaranteed that the RMT Strikes will make getting to a work location much tougher.
Travelling to events and festivals
With the three days of strike action taking place on busy days such as a Tuesday, Thursday and a Saturday - this will directly impact Bristolians who wish to travel to and from events and festivals around this time.
For example, the highly popular Glastonbury Festival - which is scheduled to take place from 22 to the 26 June - sees people in their thousands use the railway service to get to and from the Somerset area.
GWR, CrossCountry and South Western all operate train routes to Somerset from Bristol - so those who wish to attend this event and were hoping on using the train are advised to make alternative arrangements just in case.
Other examples of shows, festivals and events taking place in and around the Bristol area at the time of the RMT Strikes later in June are:
- Elton John at Ashton Gate on Wednesday, 22 June and Sunday, 25 June
- Bristol pride events taking place throughout the month of June
- Bristol Sounds at Bristol Harbourside on 26 June
What advice have railway companies offered?
South Western Railway has issued the following statement in regards to the RMT Strikes in late-June, as well as offering advice to any customers affected by the strike action.
“I understand that the announcement of upcoming industrial action will worry many of our customers, particularly against the backdrop of significant cost of living pressures,” said Claire Mann, Managing Director of South Western Railway.
“We are carefully finalising contingency plans, but I’m afraid this action will mean that many customers will be unable to travel by rail.
“If customers can change their date of travel, or make alternative arrangements, I urge them to begin making those arrangements as soon as possible.
“I appreciate how challenging this may be and would like to thank customers for their patience as the rail industry responds to this unprecedented industrial action.”
SWR will publish details of its reduced timetable when finalised and customers should check the website for latest updates.