The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) already led strikes on June 21, 23 and 25, with a subsequent walkout on July 27.
But, with National Rail and train companies refusing to budge over certain issues, four more days of strikes are set to hit the UK in the next two weeks.
Why are people striking?
RMT’s strikes revolve around job security, pay and working conditions.
The union has hit out at Network Rail’s offer to increase pay by just 4% (followed by another 2% next year and a further 2% dependent on achieving “modernisation milestones”).
He alleged that Network Rail had not updated their last offer and instead were threatening compulsory redundancies.
He said: “Strike action is the only course open to us to make both the rail industry and government understand that this dispute will continue for as long as it takes until we get a negotiated settlement.”
Mick Whelan, the general secretary of Aslef, the driver’s union, explained that its members were striking due to pay.
He said: “Many of our members – who were the men and women who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic – have not had a pay rise since 2019.”
TSSA (Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association) members are pushing back against pay, jobs and conditions and are currently balloting members for industrial action, while London Underground workers are striking on a different day over pensions and jobs.
Four strikes are planned in total right now – Saturday August 13, Thursday August 18 and Saturday August 20, with an extra London Underground strike on Friday August 19.
Who will strike on August 13?
Avanti West Coast
Great Western Railway
West Midlands Train
What about Thursday August 18 and Saturday August 20?
This strike is organised by RMT and 40,000 workers are set to walk out, half of whom are from Network Rail, including signalling and track maintenance workers. The remainder are from 14 train operating companies:
What’s happening on Friday August 19?
A 24-hour tube strike is set to hit London Underground.
The strike could be called off, if TfL provides assurances on jobs, pensions and working conditions.
Overnight action also continues to affect the Central, Jubilee, Northern and Victoria lines every Friday and Saturday until December 6.
How have rail employers responded?
National Rail’s chief negotiator Tim Shoveller alleged that RMT “walked away from ongoing and constructive talks” and let “their political campaign” take precedence over representing their members’ interests.
Chair of the Rail Delivery Group, Steve Montgomery, also dismissed Aslef’s strikes, saying: “The Aslef leadership has for the second time in as many weeks, decided to impose yet more uncertainty for passengers and businesses by disrupting passengers’ weekend plans.”
He called for Aslef to go to the negotiation table so that train operations could return to normal.
Mayor Khan appeared to step away from the strikes in June, claiming that he didn’t believe there were grounds for cutting workers’ pensions, but adding: “It’s for the government to make the case.”
He claimed in July that he would even join RMT’s picket line if he wasn’t too busy with work.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has repeatedly condemned the strikes, and particularly hit out at the train drivers who are striking, claiming: “On a salary of almost £60,000 it isn’t fair for train drivers to hurt those on lower wages with more walkouts.”
The government has also floated new minimum service requirements, so a certain number of trains would have to run during a strike although that may not come into place for months.