Train services are working to avoid disruption in Lincolnshire later this month, as a transport trade union calls a three-day rail shutdown across the country.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) announced three 24-hour long strikes would take place on Tuesday, June 21, Thursday, June 23 and Saturday, June 25. It will happen at Network Rail and 13 English train companies – including LNER, TransPennine, and East and West Midlands Railway.
Strike action has been called by the union after disputes over job security and pay, with the government asking the rail sector to reduce costs by around 10% due to a lull brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This request to save money can only result in widespread job cuts, so say the RMT, which has prompted the union to take action – though the timing could cause chaos in England.
Numerous large events are happening across the days in which strike action takes place, including Glastonbury Festival, Elton John and The Rolling Stones performing at Hyde Park, and UK Armed Forces Day.
More than 50,000 railway workers are expected to take part in the three day walkout, which is in line to be the biggest rail dispute since 1989.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Railway workers have been treated appallingly and despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry with the support of the government has failed to take their concerns seriously.
“We have a cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1pc and rising.
“Our union will now embark on a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system.
“Rail companies are making at least £500m a year in profits, whilst fat cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This unfairness is fuelling our members anger and their determination to win a fair settlement.
“RMT is open to meaningful negotiations with rail bosses and ministers, but they will need to come up with new proposals to prevent months of disruption on our railways.”
In Lincolnshire, services are likely to be disrupted by this shutdown, though a full timetable of affected routes is yet to be revealed.
London North Eastern Railway, which is the main service to take passengers from Lincoln to the capital, will be running a reduced timetable on the three days – but has removed tickets for June 21, 23 and 25 until the official train times are confirmed.
The LNER website states the service will run “fewer trains and the trains that are running are likely to be busier”, as well as saying days between the strike action will also be busy.
Both East Midlands and Northern Railway have said staff are working to put on as many services as possible during the strikes, but are not yet in a position to notify the public about changes to timetables.
A spokesperson for East Midlands Railway said: “The RMT union has confirmed its members will be taking strike action on Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday, June 25 2022.
“This will have an impact on the level of services which East Midlands Railway is able to operate. EMR has extensive contingency plans in place and will run as many services as possible. Service information and timetables will be available very shortly.
“Please continue to check the EMR website, information in stations and social media for the latest advice and information.”
Tricia Williams, chief operating officer at Northern Railway, said: “We have been formally notified by the RMT union of their intention to call strike action. We are working hard to understand what this means for our network and will provide an update to our customers once known.”
The strike action is not being backed by everyone in the rail industry, as the Rail Delivery Group, a membership body for the industry, has urged RMT to call off the shutdown and continue discussions with the government instead.
Rail Delivery Group chairman Steve Montgomery, said: “No one wins in the event of a strike. Staff lose pay, the industry loses vital revenue making it harder to afford pay increases, and passengers and businesses are disrupted.
“While we will keep as many services running as possible, sadly if this action goes ahead, significant disruption will be inevitable. We therefore urge passengers to plan their journeys carefully and find alternative ways to travel during the strike period where possible.”