Some of the UK’s biggest strikes have been cancelled following the sad news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death.
Buckingham Palace announced yesterday (8 September) that Her Majesty “died peacefully at Balmoral” at the age of 96, after 70 years of service to her country.
She was the longest reigning monarch in British history and her son Charles, the new King, said that he and his family “mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved mother.”
“Out of respect for her service to the country and to her family,” industrial rail action from Aslef and RMT, in addition to today’s (9 September) planned strikes from Royal Mail, has been cancelled with immediate effect.
Here’s what you need to know.
Are train strikes cancelled?
Aslef, who had planned to strike on 15 September, wrote on Twitter: “In light of the sad news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, ASLEF is postponing its industrial action on 15th September.
“We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country.”
Strikes planned by RMT, which had been announced for the 15 and 17 September, were also called off.
Secretary-General Mick Lynch said: “RMT joins the whole nation in paying its respects to Queen Elizabeth.”
He announced the planned railway strike action is suspended, and said: “We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country."
The TSSA rail union has also cancelled planned industrial action for September and said it would be “respecting the period of public mourning”.
A spokesperson from the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, confirmed that train schedules and timetables would run as normal now that strikes were not going ahead.
The group also said it welcomed the decisions at a time of “national mourning”.
Will they be rescheduled?
There has been no announcement yet on a new date for strike action by either Aslef, RMT or TSSA.
However, all said the strikes were “postponed/suspended” rather than permanently cancelled, so it’s safe to assume they will be rearranged at some point in the near future.
Are Royal Mail strikes cancelled?
Unions representing Royal Mail postal workers also confirmed that strikes planned for today (9 September) have been cancelled.
Dave Ward, the general secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), announced:
“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.”
Today, workers were due to stage the second day of an initially planned 48-hour strike.
Why are workers striking?
Railway workers are striking in a long-running row over pay, pensions and conditions, which has seen UK travel services grind to a halt this summer.
Members of RMT rejected a “paltry” 4% pay rise offer from Network Rail for the rest of the year, and a potential 4% pay rise in 2023 if staff accepted changes to their job contracts.
They said the offer from Network Rail represents a “real terms pay cut” for its members.
Royal Mail workers also launched industrial action in protest against an “imposed” 2% pay rise, with picket lines set up outside delivery and sorting offices yesterday (8 September).
Mr Ward from CWU said: “We can’t keep on living in a country where bosses rake in billions in profit while their employees are forced to use food banks.
Meanwhile, Mr Lynch from RMT commented: “Members are more determined than ever to secure a decent pay rise, job security and good working conditions.”