Railways Self-Inflicted Mess

There was a time when the Railways were owned by the nation. One political party, the Conservatives, prefers what is known as privatisation. That means selling the railways to private investors. But to make the investment attractive, the railways were sold off in bits – the tracks to one buyer, the rolling stocks (the trains and carriages) to another, and so on. Then private companies were invited to bid for a licence to run trains along a particular route.

There is continuing competition between the investors who want a profit out of their investments, and the workers who keep the trains running. That is no way to structure a business, much less many interlocking businesses. The resulting mess accounts for why the strikes that have been happening and which will extend into January seem to involve different unions.

National Rail has the following information, and to understand it, note that:

ASLEF is Britain’s trade union for train drivers.
RMT is The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, with members in mainline and
underground railways, shipping and offshore, buses and road freight.
Unite the Union, commonly known as Unite, was formed on 1 May 2007 by the merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers’ Union.

Forthcoming strike action:

We are aware that there may be other forms of industrial action taking place on a much more localised level, on different dates and only affecting one or two train companies. Please see below where any known will be listed or check with your train operator in such cases.

Sunday 11 and Monday 12 December – action by RMT union. This will affect Avanti West Coast only. Further information here. This was called off
Tuesday 13 December through to Sunday 8 January 2023 – action by RMT union. In addition to the national strikes shown above, Chiltern Railways will be significantly impacted by additional industrial action throughout this whole period. Further information here on Chiltern Railways website.
Friday 23 and Saturday 24 December – action by Unite union. This will affect East Midlands Railway only. Further information here.
Industrial action for January 2023

National level

We have been notified of forthcoming 48 hour strikes which will affect the network nationally on the following dates:

Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 January 2023 – action by the RMT union.
Thursday 5 January 2023 – action by the ASLEF union.
Friday 6 and Saturday 7 January 2023 – action by the RMT union.