Rail strikes 'to target Conservative conference in October'

·3-min read
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUG 20, 2022 -  National rail strike, a quiet train strike day at Waterloo station in London. (Photo credit should read Matthew Chattle/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Train drivers will resume their strikes next month in a long-running row over pay, according to reports. (Getty)

Train drivers will resume their strikes next month in a long-running row over pay, according to reports.

Drivers at 12 train operators are expected to walk out on 1 and 5 October, affecting travel to and from the Conservative party conference in Birmingham.

A planned strike by drivers on Thursday was called off as a mark of respect following the Queen’s death.

The drivers’ union Aslef said it would not be making a public comment until after the monarch’s funeral on Monday.

Read more: Why are there more rail strikes and which routes are affected?

Picketing Aslef members at a picket line at Kings Cross station in London, as members of the drivers union Aslef at nine train operators walk out for 24 hours over pay. Picture date: Saturday August 13, 2022. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
The drivers’ union Aslef will not be making a public comment until after the former monarch’s funeral. (Getty)

The new strikes will affect operators directly serving Brimingham, including Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, CrossCountry and West Midlands Trains, the report adds.

This may cause problems at Liz Truss’s first Tory conference as prime minister which is due to take place in Birmingham at The International Convention Centre in Broad St, Birmingham, from 2 to 5 October.

Other services which also face disruption, include Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, LNER, London Overground, Northern, Southeastern and TransPennine Express.

A rail industry source said: “It is quite frankly incredible and utterly disrespectful that the Aslef leadership has chosen to announce strike action to train operators today (Friday).

“This is a time when the entire rail family is working hard to support the hundreds of thousands of people who wish to pay their respects to Her Majesty the Queen during this time of national mourning.”

Read more: End of the line for railway ticket offices as ministers plan huge cuts

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Striking train drivers picket Paddington station on August 13, 2022 in London, England. The daylong strike by train drivers represented by the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) was one of three such actions scheduled for August in the UK. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
A planned strike by drivers was called off as a mark of respect following the Queen’s death. (Getty)

Industrial disputes in the rail industry and other sectors, including post and telecoms, have led to a summer of strikes, which are set to resume in the coming weeks.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union were also due to walk out on September 15 and 17 in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions but this was postponed due to the Queen's death.

Members of the Communication Workers Union and The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) also called off planned industrial action.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch added: “RMT joins the whole nation in paying its respects to Queen Elizabeth.

“The planned railway strike action on September 15 and 17 is suspended.

“We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country.”

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Following the very sad news of the passing of the Queen and out of respect for her service to the country and her family, the union has decided to call off tomorrow’s planned strike action.”