OPINION - The Leader podcast: How successful are union train strikes?

·1-min read

It is another strike day and more travel chaos on railway services.

Once more there’s commuter misery as main lines into and around London are hobbled on the fourth day of nationwide rail strikes, with just a fifth of the usual services expected to run.

Industrial action has left many services grinding to a halt, and freight’s being given priority over passengers.

More than 40,000 RMT union members working for Network Rail and 14 of England’s 15 rail companies walked out for 24 hours until midnight tonight.

There’s more industrial action to come by the Aslef union on the railways on Saturday, while a Tube strike hitting Transport for London-run services is planned for next month.

Meanwhile, London has the highest proportion of travel complaints to the Ombudsman.

So, do rail strikes ever achieve their aim, and at what cost to passengers?

The latest row is over eight per cent pay rises - or the lack thereof - pensions and working conditions, but have these kinds of strikes ever achieved anything for its participants - are they effective?

To discuss why unions use strikes as a strategy, we’re joined by one of Britain’s leading transport experts, Tony Travers, professor at the School of Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

We discuss the complexities of the negotiating process, Mayor Sadiq Khan’s fabled “zero days of strikes” pledge back in 2016, government proposals to crack down on industrial action and what the future holds for passengers fares.

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