Train strikes to reduce services by up to 50% this week affecting FA Cup final, Epsom Derby and Beyonce tour
RMT and Aslef walkouts will affect fans travelling to the FA Cup final, Epsom Derby and the Beyonce Renaissance tour
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Train companies are warning that services will be “severely reduced” due to walkouts by drivers and other workers. Members of the drivers’ union Aslef will strike on Wednesday 31 May and Saturday 3 June, while the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has called a strike on Friday 2 June.
On Aslef strike days, around 40% of trains will be running but there will be wide regional variations, with some operators running no services at all. Aslef will also start an overtime ban at 15 train operating companies on Thursday 1 June that could cause disruption, especially in and out of London.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said there was “no waning in enthusiasm” from train drivers to continue taking industrial action and said the union is “determined to get a resolution”.
On the RMT strike day, around half of the network will shut down, with only 50% of normal services set to run. The industrial action will affect 15 train companies and services are due to start later and finish much earlier than usual, typically between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said it is expected that nationally services will be severely reduced, with variations across the network and no services at all in some areas. It is likely that evening services on some lines will also be affected on the days before each strike, so passengers are advised to plan ahead and check the times of first and last trains on the evenings before strike days and the mornings following strikes.
The strikes will affect thousands of football fans travelling to London for the FA Cup final between Manchester City and Manchester United on Saturday at Wembley Stadium, with fans wishing to travel to the game by train from Manchester advised not to attempt to do so on the day. There will also be a limited service on Friday due to the RMT walkout.
Strikes on Saturday will also affect more than 100,000 people travelling to the annual Epsom Derby, as well as fans travelling to Beyonce’s Renaissance world tour concert at Tottenham’s stadium and cricket fans travelling to watch the England v Ireland Test match at Lord’s.
An RDG spokesperson said: “The upcoming rail strikes called by the Aslef and RMT leadership will not only affect our passengers’ daily commute, but will also impact those travelling to and from the FA Cup final and other events across the country, causing disappointment and frustration for tens of thousands of people.
“It will also inconvenience families who have been looking forward and have planned their half-term holidays. It will also further burden our people who have already lost thousands of pounds at a time of financial strain. We understand the impact of these strikes on individuals and businesses alike, and we can only apologise for this unnecessary and damaging disruption.
“While we are doing all we can to keep trains running, unfortunately there will be reduced train services between Wednesday May 31 and Saturday June 3, so our advice is to check before you travel. Passengers with Advance tickets can be refunded fee-free if the train that the ticket is booked for is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.”
The unions say they have not been given a pay offer it can recommend to their members, with Aslef saying train drivers have not had a pay rise for four years. Both unions claim the government is preventing the train companies from making an acceptable offer - a claim ministers deny.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “These strikes have been co-ordinated by union leaders to disrupt passengers in a week which will see major events such as the first ever all Manchester FA Cup final, the Epsom Derby and a number of concerts and festivals across the UK.
“Not content with impacting the hundreds of thousands of people who have looked forward to these events all year round, unions are also targeting their own members’ pockets by forcing them to miss out on pay every time they strike. The government has facilitated a fair and reasonable pay offer, now union leaders must do the right thing and put this to their members.”