UK travel chaos: summer rail strikes, tube strikes, airport delays and cancellations and…
June 8, 2022, 00:09 | Updated: June 8, 2022, 01:05
Britons are set to face a summer of travel chaos as railway workers plan the network’s biggest strike in decades, airport delays and cancellations continue and fuel prices soar .
Railway workers have announced a three-day march of 50,000 workers ahead of the UK’s most anticipated concerts and festivals and alongside another Tube strike.
Members of Network Rail’s Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and 13 train operators will walk out on June 21, 23 and 25 in what the union says will be the biggest railway strike since 1989.
It comes as another blow to those with summer plans who are already facing chaos at airports due to understaffed and overbooked airlines, and huge fuel bills as pumps hit £2 a liter this week.
The dates for the rail strike coincide with the start of the Glastonbury Music Festival which kicks off on Wednesday June 22.
Other events of the week include England taking on New Zealand in a test match in Leeds, the British Athletics Championships in Manchester and concerts in London’s Hyde Park by Elton John (June 24) and the Rolling Stones (June 25).
There will also be a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London on June 24-25 and it is Armed Forces Day on June 25.
The RMT also announced another 24-hour strike on the London Underground in a separate row on jobs and pensions.
Tube workers will strike on June 21 to coincide with the first railway strike, threatening widespread travel chaos.
Union members voted overwhelmingly for action last month in growing rows over wages and job losses.
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The RMT rail union is launching a 3-day national strike across the entire rail network:
More than 50,000 railroad workers will walk out as part of a 3-day national strike later this month, in the biggest dispute on the network since 1989. https://t.co/CEaTfIQaOa pic.twitter.com/rhl0gLtCNw
— RMT (@RMTunion) June 7, 2022
It comes after days of chaos at airports across the country, with easyJet forced to cancel at least 35 flights on Tuesday, with Gatwick the worst affected airport.
Hungarian carrier Wizz Air has also cut at least seven flights to UK airports.
British Airways canceled 124 flights at Heathrow, although the airline said affected passengers had been given advance notice.
There have also been reports of massive queues and major delays over the past month, due to staff shortages and a huge surge in demand as more people travel after restrictions post coronavirus.
Meanwhile, hundreds of check-in and ground workers employed by British Airways at Heathrow began voting on the strike on Tuesday.
Unite and GMB union members are elected in a pay dispute that could spell chaos at the UK’s busiest airport over the summer holiday period.
The RMT said rail staff who worked during the pandemic faced pay freezes and hundreds of job cuts.
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 not taken their concerns seriously. .
“We have a cost of living crisis, and it is unacceptable that railway workers will lose their jobs or face another year of wage freezes while inflation is at 11.1% and rising.
“Our union will now embark on a sustained industrial action campaign that will shut down the rail system.
“Rail companies are making at least £500million in profits a year, while fat cat railway bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This injustice is fueling our members’ anger and determination to get a fair settlement.
“RMT is open to serious negotiations with railway bosses and ministers, but they will have to come up with new proposals to avoid months of disruption to our railways.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps reacted to the strike plans on Twitter, writing: ‘Very disappointing RMT union is taking action which could damage the rail network after taxpayers contributed £16bn, £600 per household, to maintain jobs during Covid.
“We are working with industry to reduce the disruption caused by strikes, but urge unions to talk to employers.”
The strikes come as fuel prices hit £2 a liter at some motorway service stations.
At Washington South services on the A1 between Sunderland and Newcastle, LBC found a liter of unleaded to cost £2.02 per litre.
Diesel costs £2.04 at the same petrol station.
A Gulf petrol garage in Essex and another forecourt on the M6 in Cumbria also sold fuel for over £2 a litre.
The union said more than 50,000 rail workers would walk out on June 21, adding the action would affect the national rail network for the entire week.
Angie Doll, Chief Operating Officer at Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “We are extremely disappointed that passengers across the country are now facing the anxiety of rail disruption just as we begin to recover from the pandemic. .
“Although GTR colleagues only voted for non-strike action, we regretfully expect our services to be very seriously disrupted due to an all out strike affecting Network Rail and other train operators.
“We rely on Network Rail signallers and engineers to keep our trains moving, and our services connect to many lines and stations run by other operators whose staff are taking action.
“We will provide more detailed advice and information to passengers in the coming days. In the meantime, we urge the RMT to work with Network Rail and rail operators to seek a speedy resolution.
Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “We continue to meet with our unions to discuss their pay concerns and we are doing everything we can to avoid a strike on the railway.
“We know the cost of living has gone up and we want to give our people a pay raise, but the RMT needs to recognize that we are a public body and any pay raises need to be affordable for taxpayers.
“Travel habits have changed forever and the railway must change too. We cannot expect to take more than our fair share of public funds, and so we must modernize our industry to put it on a solid financial footing for the future. will only lead to the decline of the industry and more long-term job losses.
“There are two weeks left before the first strike is scheduled. We will use this time to continue talking to our unions and, through compromise and common sense on both sides, we hope to find a solution and avoid the damage that the strike would cause everyone involved.”