national rail strike

Wednesday 8 May – Strikes affected Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway and West Midlands Trains.
Wolverhampton train station
8-30am to 1-30pm

Overtime ban took place from Monday 6 May to Saturday 11 May when ASLEF members did not work overtime.

Tuesday 7 May – Strikes affected c2c, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern, Gatwick Express and South Western Railway.

Thursday 9 May – Strikes will affect LNER, Northern Trains and TransPennine Express.


ASLEF members withdrew overtime between Thursday 4 to Saturday, 6 April and Monday 8 to Tuesday, 9 April 2024.

also strikes on Saturday 6 April: Chiltern, GWR, LNER, Northern, and TransPennine Trains

and Monday 8 April: c2c, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway main line and depot drivers, and SWR Island Line

Friday 5 April 2024 Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains, East Midlands Railway, and Cross Country

ASLEF has secured a rest day working (overtime) agreement with Avanti West Coast that sees the bar lifted for the rest of the industry.

Further strike action and action short of a strike has been announced in and around the weekend of the 5th & 6th of April for those TOCs in dispute. Ballot papers will again be sent out to those TOCs in dispute to secure the mandate for further action and as required under legislation.

ASLEF train drivers from Avanti West Coast and West Midlands Trains took strike action locally on Saturday 3 February as part of another week of national action. Action on Mon 5th at Chiltern and Cross Country will also have an effect on local services. No non-compulsory overtime from Monday 29 January to end of Tuesday 6 February.

Train operatorStrike date
Avanti West CoastSaturday 3 February
C2CFriday 2 February
ChilternMonday 5 February
CrossCountryMonday 5 February
East Midlands RailwaySaturday 3 February
Gatwick ExpressTuesday 30 January
Great NorthernTuesday 30 January
Great WesternMonday 5 February
Greater AngliaFriday 2 February
LNERFriday 2 February. Strike on 5-9 February cancelled.
Northern TrainsWednesday 31 January
South Western RailwayTuesday 30 January
SWR Island LineTuesday 30 January
SoutheasternTuesday 30 January
SouthernTuesday 30 January
ThameslinkTuesday 30 January
Transpennine ExpressWednesday 31 January
West Midlands TrainsSaturday 3 February

Neither ScotRail nor Transport for Wales is involved in the dispute.

RMT welcomed the government’s complete withdrawal of its ticket office closure plans in light of passenger watchdog objections as a complete victory. [31-10-23] A record 750,000 took part in the public consultation.

  • Saturday 2 December 2023: East Midlands Railway and LNER.
  • Sunday 3 December: Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains, Chiltern, Great Northern, and Thameslink
  • Monday 4 December: no strikes
  • Tuesday 5 December: C2C and Greater Anglia
  • Wednesday 6 December: Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway
  • Thursday 7 December: CrossCountry and GWR
  • Friday 8 December: Northern and TransPennine Trains
  • in addition, a nine-day overtime ban will cause extra cancellations from 1 to 9 December.

To comply with Tory anti-union legislation, every six months, ASLEF Train drivers’ union has to re-ballot to continue the strike action, the result announced 30 November wad 94% in favour.

Rail union RMT has smashed the anti trade union legal thresholds to secure another 6-month mandate for strike action in their long running national rail dispute. 90% yes on 64% turnout. [to put it in context, the latest Wolverhampton council by-election was won with 59% on a 12% turnout]

ASLEF members at 16 train companies in England held an overtime ban for five days from 2 to 6 October.

Wed 4 October picket at Wolverhampton station 8-30am – 1pm

Plus an overtime ban on 29 September and for five days from 2 to 6 October.

ASLEF took strike action on Sat 30 September. The industrial action coincides with the Tory Party conference, in Manchester from 1 to 4 October.

ASLEF strike Friday 1 September and continuing their overtime ban on Saturday 2 September.

RMT strike days Saturday 2 September and Saturday 9 September. RMT rail union took strike action on: Thursday 20th July, Saturday 22nd July, Saturday 29th July and Saturday 26 August 2023

The Rail Delivery Group and Train Operating Companies have once again failed to provide any proposals for the Union to consider. The National Executive Committee has considered this matter further and has placed on record their commendations of RMT members and the fortitude members have shown in defending their jobs, pay and conditions over the last twelve months.

During this period, not a single compulsory redundancy has been made, nor a single booking office closed. This is evidently down to the industrial action and determination of members to fight for jobs, pay and conditions.

Over the last twelve months, the country has seen the departures of three Prime Ministers and three Secretaries of State for Transport. But our members are still in this campaign, rock solid and determined to see it through. You and your colleagues have remained resilient and your resolve to fight for our key demands has been and remains unwavering.

It should also be noted, that within the industry the Union has achieved acceptable pay awards at Train Operating Companies that are not constrained by the government and the departments for Transport’s Rail Delivery group.

The repeated rejected offers from secretaries of state will not weaken our resolve to achieve an acceptable deal for RMT members. The government need to release their grip on the fourteen Rail Delivery Group Train Operating Companies and allow them to enter into discussions and reach a mutually acceptable deal.

Saturday 3 June ASLEF strike

Friday 2 June RMT strike will involve 20,000 catering, station staff and train managers working for 14 companies, affecting train services throughout the country;

Wednesday 31 May ASLEF strike;

Saturday 13 May – RMT strike at train operating companies. RMT members who work for Train Operating Companies remain in dispute and successfully reballoted for six more months.

ASLEF took strike action again on Friday 12 May – ASLEF has rejected a “risible 4 per cent pay offer” from 16 train companies including CrossCountry, West Midlands Trains and Avanti West Coast. Train drivers have not had a pay rise at the companies involved in the dispute since 2019.

RMT has welcomed the move to strip the Transpennine Express franchise from rail privateer First Group, re-nationalising by bringing it into the government’s operator of last resort which is already running three other rail contracts. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that it was absolutely right not to renew or extend Transpennine Express’s contract which was something the union has long campaigned for.  First should now also lose its failed Avanti West Coast contract as part a return of all our railways to public ownership.”

RMT called off strike action scheduled for 30 March and 1 April after receiving a new proposal from the train operating companies, that “could lead to a resolution to resolve the current national rail dispute through a new offer on pay, job security and working conditions.”

March 2023 – In their separate dispute, RMT’s 20,000 Network Rail members accepted a new pay offer after their strike action, of 9% and up to 14.4% for the lowest paid.

RMT members were on strike on Thurs 16th and Sat 18th March

coverage of rally

ASLEF strikes: Wed 1 & Fri 3 February 2023, pickets at Wolverhampton train station. They have now taken eight days of strike action since last summer.

General secretary Mick Whelan said: ‘The proposal is not and could not ever be acceptable but we are willing to engage in further discussions within the process that we previously agreed.’

19 Jan 23 – Rail union, RMT today received a new offer from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) following negotiations in the national rail dispute. The union’s NEC will now consider the detail within the offer and what next steps to take.

The Tories are prolonging these disputes. While rail workers have had their pay frozen in the same period, Depart for Transport data shows that the private train operators made £310 million in taxpayer-funded profits between March 2020 and September 2022. By September this year, that figure will be in excess of £400 million, all of which can be turned into shareholder dividends.

This is in addition to the estimated £300 million of taxpayers’ money spent indemnifying the companies so that they don’t lose a penny as a result of strike action.

The claim that there’s no money left to pay rail workers properly is just not true. Had it been reinvested back into the rail industry, £310 million would have been enough to fund a 10.6% pay rise for the Train operating companies’ staff.

So far, the Rail Delivery Group has only offered 4% in the first year and 4% in the second with a whole host of unacceptable changes to working conditions including the widespread introduction Driver Only Operation on all train services, which risks train safety and discriminates against disabled passengers.

RMT 48hr strikes on Tues 3rd and Wed 4th and Fri 6th and Sat 7th January 2023.

ASLEF have already called six one-day strikes – drivers withdrew their labour on Saturday 30 July; Saturday 13 August; Saturday 1 October, Wednesday 5 October; Saturday 26 November; and Thursday 5 January 2023.

ASLEF has successfully negotiated pay deals with 12 train companies in the last twelve months – DB Cargo; Eurostar; Freightliner Heavy Haul; Freightliner Intermodal; GB Railfreight; Grand Central; Hull Trains; Merseyrail; MTR Elizabeth Line; Nexus; PRE Metro Operations; ScotRail; and Transport for Wales.

Things are different in Wales, run by a Labour government – after intense negotiations and no strike action, RMT members won between a 6.6% and 9.5% pay rise in December 2022, on the Welsh government owned operator. RMT has similar deals with the devolved Scottish government. Three incompetent Secretaries of State for Transport in a month for England.

ASLEF is ONLY in dispute with those companies which have failed to offer their drivers anything. Drivers who have not have an increase since April 2019.


Network Rail only RMT members were on strike 24-27 December. RMT also went on strike on 16-17 December. RMT and TSSA took 2-day action 13-14 December

RMT train managers on Avanti West Coast took strike action on Sunday 20 November in a row over the imposition of rosters expecting them to work 53hr week. Picket at Wolverhampton station 10am-2pm.

The RMT union said a fresh ballot of its members, as required by anti-trade union legislation, had found overwhelming support for further action as members voted to continue their campaign of industrial action in the long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions for next six months. There will also be an overtime ban from 18 December until 2 January,

The average turnout at Network Rail and 14 train-operating companies was 70.2 per cent, with over 90 per cent voting Yes, the union said (16-11-22). The result clears the way for the strikes to continue for up to six months, after which another ballot would have to be held.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The national executive committee will now look at these fantastic results and negotiations will continue with Network Rail and the train-operating companies.

“This union is determined to continue with this campaign until the employers understand that they need to respond to our members’ aspirations on job security, pay and working conditions.”

Network Rail chief negotiator Tim Shoveller said the publicly owned infrastructure company looked forward to “continuing intensive talks” to find “an amicable solution for all.”

If you would like to donate to the RMT National Dispute Fund which makes hardship payments to support their striking members taking part in disputes then you can donate via

RMT had suspended strikes due on Sat 5, Mon 7 and Wed 9 November, to enter into talks with Network Rail and train companies, although the union added that its dispute remains “very much live”.  RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The threat of strike action and our strongly supported industrial campaign has made the rail employers see sense.”

RMT train managers on Avanti West Coast also suspended strike action due Sunday 6 November in a row over the imposition of rosters expecting them to work 53hr week.

track in support of the RMT’s campaign

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Throughout this whole dispute, the Rail Delivery Group has been completely unreasonable by not offering our members any deal on pay, conditions and job security.

“Some of our members on the train operating companies are some of the lowest paid on the railways.

“This stands in stark contrast to rail operating company bosses making millions of pounds in profit.

“We remain open to meaningful talks, but we are steadfast in our industrial campaign to see a negotiated settlement for all our members in this dispute.”

Pickets 10am-2pm at railway station Wolverhampton – come and show your solidarity

RMT, the railworkers’ union and ASLEF, the train drivers’ union pickets run at both entrances to the railway station, Cornhill and Railway Drive and welcome solidarity visits from union members and the public.

ASLEF picket 8am-4pm

RMT picket 10am-2pm

On Saturday Oct 22nd RMT train managers on Avanti West Coast took strike action

RMT went on strike on 1st and 8 October in their dispute over pay.

ASLEF took strike action on 1st October and 5 October

Mick Whelan ASLEF Gen Sec joined the Wolverhampton picket (1/10/22)

ASLEF represents 96% of drivers. Most train drivers haven’t had a pay increase since 2019.

When inflation goes up and pay doesn’t, that’s a real-terms pay cut.

Railworkers and train drivers agree that every working person should be paid fairly and that pay should be increased to keep pace with inflation – many public sector workers deserve far more than their long-frozen pay amounts to.

Senior rail managers take home huge salaries; rail operators have paid dividends to their shareholders right through the pandemic, and the rolling stock companies (who own the trains and lease them back out) have made billions. The claim that there’s no money left to pay rail workers properly is just not true.

During the pandemic, train drivers and railway workers went out to work to keep the country moving. Rail helped other key workers get to work, and kept goods like food and medicines moving around the country.

TSSA strike action: Avanti West Coast: station grades do not attend work on Thursday 18 August or Saturday 20 August. Also industrial action – action short of strike at West Midlands Trains 18 August and on 20 August. These members are also being re-balloted on strike action as their vote was just one vote short of the threshold for strike action.

RMT took further 24 hours strike action on Saturday 20 August 2022 over job security, pay and working conditions after rejecting a “paltry” Network Rail offer. They were joined on these dates by TSSA colleagues.

RMT and TSSA went on strike on Thursday 18 August and were well supported in Wolverhampton again.

ASLEF took strike action on 13th August at Wolverhampton station; Avanti West Coast members joined those from West Midlands Trains who had already taken strike action on 30 July. Wolves TUC delegates from UNITE, UNISON, GMB and CWU joined strikers and fellow delegates from ASLEF on their picket line.

The 24-hour RMT stoppages come after Network Rail made an offer of 4pc in the first year followed by a possible 4pc in the second year, conditional on RMT members accepting all attacks on their terms and conditions.
RMT has yet to receive a pay offer or guarantees over job losses from the train operating companies (TOCs).

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The offer from Network Rail represents a real terms pay cut for our members and the paltry sum is conditional on RMT members agreeing to drastic changes in their working lives.
We have made progress on compulsory redundancies. But Network Rail are still seeking to make our members poorer when we have won in some cases double what they are offering, with other rail operators.
The train operating companies remain stubborn and are refusing to make any new offer which deals with job security and pay.
Strike action is the only course open to us to make both the rail industry and government understand that this dispute will continue for as long as it takes, until we get a negotiated settlement.
The public who will be inconvenienced by our strike action need to understand that it is the government’s shackling of Network Rail and the TOCs that means the rail network will be shut down for 24 hours. We remain open for further talks.”

RMT members have won a 7 per cent pay increase for its members on Merseyrail. The operator, which is run as a concession by Serco and Abellio on behalf of Merseytravel, has agreed the deal on a ‘no strings attached’ basis.

The RMT has also secured pay deals on London Underground worth 8.4 per cent, on MTR Crossrail at 8.2 per cent and 9.25 per cent on the Docklands Light Railway, which is a Transport for London concession run by Keolis and Amey.

RMT briefing
Rail Disputes – Key Facts

This action is an absolute last resort as we have been talking to employers and UK Government ministers for almost two years to find a resolution to the issues involved. Indeed, since we declared our overwhelming ballot result two weeks ago, we have been in engaged in intensive efforts to find a resolution to the dispute, but as well as no offer on pay or job security those talks have revealed that the employers have an agenda which will be disastrous for rail passengers’ workers and passengers alike.

This agenda includes thousands of jobs losses, with widespread cuts to station, catering and cleaning staff, cuts on train staff and more driver only trains and the axing safety critical track, engineering and operational staff. Passengers want more staff, not less and far from modernisation the employer’s cuts agenda is the managed decline of our railway which will make services less reliable, safe and accessible – all in order to allow greedy rail companies to continue raking in hundreds of millions of pounds in profit a year and to continue to pay fat cat salaries.

We remain available for meaningful negotiations to resolve this dispute and we urge the employers to make realistic proposals as soon as possible.
In the meantime, below are some key facts in relation to the dispute
. • Rail workers voted by almost 9-1 in favour of strike action on a 71% turnout. Far from ‘jumping the gun’ the action is a last resort after two years of discussions where the industry and UK Ministers failed to address concerns on jobs, pay and conditions
. • A key aspect of the dispute is the threat of thousands of compulsory redundancies. This will mean increased risks on safety critical infrastructure, less staff on stations and trains, including the removal of guards and catering staff, cuts to cleaning and the closure of nearly all ticket offices. This is not modernisation; it is the managed decline of our railways where cuts will worsen services for passengers and make the railway less safe and accessible. If we are to have a full rail recovery from Covid with expanding services to meet our climate commitments, we need to retain staff and their skills. The passenger watchdog Transport Focus has said ‘there is a strong sense that the ideal response to the pandemic would be to see more staff…rather than less.
’ • All rail staff are identified as key workers. They work in a safety critical industry seven-day weeks with very unsocial hours in all types of adverse weather and conditions. Many regularly deal with being assaulted and anti-social behaviour. Those workers balloted include cleaners, catering staff, controller, guards, drivers, engineering, revenue protection, signal workers, station staff, track workers and train maintenance staff. Most rail workers have basic salary rates of between £25 -30,000 around the median annual salary of £31,285
. • Rail workers were praised as ‘heroes’ by the then UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, for keeping the country moving during the pandemic. Now despite the cost-of-living crisis most rail workers are enduring two to three year pay freezes whilst MPs have received a rise worth almost worth 6% during this period.
• The government claim they ‘bailed out’ the rail industry during the pandemic, when in fact the railways always needed to be supported to keep people and good moving. Rail workers are angry their livelihoods are under threat when during the pandemic rail bosses have taken home £1m pay packets and rail companies have made in excess of £500 million a year in private profits since the start of the health emergency. The reason cuts are now being proposed is so companies can continue to rake in profits, regardless of the consequences for passengers.
• There is a better way to manage change, for example the Welsh Government have guaranteed no compulsory redundancies and have protected staffing levels and support the role of ticket offices. In contrast we are concerned the UK government and companies are preparing for confrontation. Ministers have even said they will use taxpayers’ money to fund any losses incurred by the private train operators.
• RMT’s recent ballot exceeded stringent anti-trade union thresholds, beat the percentage turnout at the general election and exceeded the majorities achieved by most politicians. Yet in response the government is threatening to change the law to remove workers’ democratic right to take strike action. The P&O scandal has recently shown exactly how ruthless companies can be and how the law is stacked in their favour against working people. Now the government is threatening to make it worse.
• After all they have been through as key workers during Covid, putting their health and lives on the line, rail workers don’t want to take strike action. This dispute could still be resolved quickly and RMT is calling for talks with the government and the industry at a national level to reach a fair settlement. Please lobby the government to demand that the rail companies must agree that there must be no compulsory redundancies of rail workers, that working conditions and jobs are subject to negotiation and agreement with the rail workers union the RMT and that rail workers receive a fair pay rise that takes into account the rising cost of living.

Michael Lynch General Secretary

Wolverhampton RMT pickets took place on Tuesday 21 June, Thursday 23 June, Saturday 25 June and Wednesday 27 July 2022. Two pickets run during these times at both entrances to the railway station, Cornhill and Railway Drive.

ASLEF members at eight train operators including West Midlands Trains – staged a strike on Saturday 30 July with pickets 10-4pm.

All of these strike pickets were supported by delegates from Wolverhampton TUC. Delegates from Walsall TUC and other union members, swelled the pickets to over 50 people at times.

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  1. October 2022
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  3. May 2023 Secretary’s Report – Wolverhampton TUC

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