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Members of the drivers’ union Aslef and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) walked out on Wednesday, generating massive disruption to services and impacting London Overground and many national rail routes to and from London.
Network Rail warned of “significant disruption” on the railway on Wednesday, advising passengers to “only travel if absolutely necessary.”
The train drivers’ strike will affect London Overground, Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains, Greater Anglia (including Stansted Express), Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Transpennine Express, and West Midlands Trains.
Members of the TSSA will strike at CrossCountry and take other forms of industrial action at several other operators, according to local reports.
The TSSA is also planning industrial action on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, while members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at more than a dozen train companies and Network Rail will strike on Saturday.
Services are likely to be disrupted into early Thursday morning as workers return to duty.
The disruption is expected to affect major soccer games and the final day of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, where Prime Minister Liz Truss addressed participants earlier on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Aslef announced on Wednesday morning that its members working on the Croydon Tramlink had rejected a pay offer and would be striking on Monday and Tuesday.
Aslef General Secretary Mick Whelan declared that the dispute would persist until the government intervened, insisting that train drivers in England faced a third year without a pay raise and that deals had been achieved in Scotland and Wales.
Whelan further called on the UK’s Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan to “lift the shackles” from train companies so they could make a pay offer to workers. “The message I am receiving from my members is that they are in this for the long haul and if anything, they want industrial action to be increased,” he said.
TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said, “We saw only last weekend that our strike action was rock-solid across the country. Our brilliant members remain determined to see their demands met in the shape of a just settlement.”
Blaming the Truss administration, he added, “We do not strike lightly but are prepared to dig in as we seek a fair deal on pay, job security and conditions in the face of cuts, economic collapse and a cost-of-living crisis at the hands of this chaotic Tory government.”