London strikes latest: Commuters face miserable rush hour journeys amid cancellations and services finishing early
London rail commuters are facing a miserable rush hour journey home as limited services finish early amid strike action.
Members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) have walked out for a second day this week in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
Action by Aslef, which is seeking a pay deal that recognises the cost of living crisis, affected 14 train companies on Friday.
No services are running on Southeastern, Thameslink and Southern - all key London commuter routes.
Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway (GWR), Stansted Express and LNER are operating amended timetables from London stations, with some final trains leaving as early as 7pm.
GWR services between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads will finish at 7.30pm while LNER’s final train to York from London King’s Cross leaves at 7.06pm.
Greater Anglia is only operating one train per hour between London Liverpool Street and Norwich, Colchester, Cambridge and Southend Victoria. Last services will finish earlier than usual.
What train companies are affected by today’s strike?
07:15 , Sarah Harvey
Britain's train services are being hit by strike action again.
Train driver members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) unions are walking out in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.For a full run down of what train companies are affected, click here.
20:11 , Matt Watts
That concludes our rail strike coverage for the day.
Maintenance workers on Elizabeth line take action
17:45 , John Dunne
Maintenance workers on London’s Elizabeth Line will stage a 24-hour strike from Friday night in a dispute over pay.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said its members were being paid significantly less than similar positions across the network.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “It cannot be right that maintenance staff doing essential work keeping the Elizabeth Line running are being short-changed.
“The employer must make a decent offer on pay that reflects the vital work our members perform in order to avoid future strike action.”
A TfL spokesman said that services would not be affected as only a part of the maintenance team were RMT members.
Limited rail services in London to finish early
16:31 , Miriam Burrell
Just three rail companies are running limited services from London stations on Friday. Most timetables are finishing early.
One train per hour is running between Norwich and London Liverpool Street; Colchester and London Liverpool Street; Cambridge and London Liverpool Street and between Southend Victoria and London Liverpool Street.
Final services will finish earlier than usual.
One Stansted Express train is running per hour between the airport and London Liverpool Street. The final service from the airport is scheduled for 12.30am, and the final service from London will leave at 11.25pm.
Great Western Railway
Services must be completed by around 7:30pm on Friday, GWR said. Those who need to travel should check both their outward and return journeys.
A very limited service is running between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads on Friday.
The last train to York from London King’s Cross leaves at 7.06pm.
Pictured: Rail strike leaves stations empty
15:45 , Miriam Burrell
Disruption expected on Saturday
14:40 , Miriam Burrell
National Rail has warned that today’s strike action will have a knock-on effect for rail services on Saturday.
Rail passengers “should expect disruption” as Friday’s industrial action by RMT and Aslef union members impacts shift patterns.
Southern, Southeastern and Thameslink not running over strike
13:51 , Josh Salisbury
Train strikes mean no Southeastern, Southern or Thameslink trains will run today, commuters are being warned.
These companies serve popular commuter routes in and out of London.
Services run by these train operating companies will resume tomorrow.
🔴Due to strike action, there are no Southeastern, Thameslink or Southern trains on our network today.
⚠️A normal timetable will operate from tomorrow.
ℹ️ More info: https://t.co/N991PKKQXO #RailStrike pic.twitter.com/DX7esl1Reu
— Southeastern (@Se_Railway) February 3, 2023
Train driver: ‘Days out with the kids don’t happen’
12:40 , Miriam Burrell
A train driver has said days out with his children “don’t really happen any more” as he joined an Aslef picket line amid the pay dispute.
Lee Harris, a train driver for a decade and now based in Derby working for East Midlands Railway, told PA:“Everyone plans their life based on what they earn.
“What we might have done before in terms of takeaways or days out with the kids don’t really happen at the moment, with the cost of gas and electric.
“If we roll over now, the Government will have us every time.”
A recap: Who is on strike today and why?
12:32 , Miriam Burrell
Members of the main drivers’ union, Aslef, and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union have walked out over pay and conditions.
The latest offer is for a 4% pay rise last year and another 4% increase this year.
Aslef says there are conditions attached to the offer which it claims would “rip up” long-standing agreements.
The negotiations are being fronted by the Rail Delivery Group, which represents most train companies.
The RMT is involved in separate disputes with train operators and Network Rail.
It made a revised offer last month of a 5% pay rise, backdated to January 1, 2022, and a further 4% this year, with a promise of no compulsory redundancies until January 31, 2025, and a £250 lump sum for those earning £24,000 or less.
The RMT is consulting with its members through branch and regional meetings before deciding its next move.
Hounslow parking officers to strike
11:38 , Miriam Burrell
Parking enforcement officers across Hounslow will strike for a month over a pay disupte with the council and their employer Serco.
Unite union members across the London borough announced on Friday they will take industrial action from February 6 to March 5.
The workers are directly employed by Serco which manages the contract for the London borough. Hounslow Council and Serco need to reach an agreement with Unite, the union said.
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “The truth is that the London Living Wage is not enough to live on. Serco is hugely wealthy. The Council and its outsourcer have the ability to pay workers more.
“The strike will inevitably mean that parking restrictions across the borough will fall apart.”
‘Significant disruption’ to and from Gatwick Airport
11:00 , Miriam Burrell
🚧 Travelling today? Rail strikes will cause significant disruption to and from Gatwick Airport.
❌ 3 Feb: No trains
⌚ 4 Feb: Late start
🚧 5 Feb: Engineering work
Use other transport options where possible and plan your journey in advance
ℹ 👉 https://t.co/N1f52FKN8k pic.twitter.com/yIRnuZhNte
— Gatwick Airport LGW (@Gatwick_Airport) February 3, 2023
‘People call us greedy'
10:54 , Miriam Burrell
Andy Botham, a train driver for more than 30 years, said it was “disappointing” the Government would not negotiate.
The Aslef representative for train drivers in the East Midlands and London for East Midlands Railway said: “People call us greedy train drivers compared to a nurse’s salary, but I’ve got a salary and my life is set upon my salary.
“With inflation running at what it is at the moment, if I don’t get a pay rise, I’ll probably be down about 20% over the last few years and that is a big cut to my disposable income.”
Traffic up 11% during Wednesday rail strike
10:26 , Miriam Burrell
There was an 11.2 per cent increase in traffic during Wednesday’s rail strike, GPS company Waze has revealed.
UK country manager Ru Robert said completing journeys by car appeared to be the most trusted alternative, with traffic levels increasing 6.2 per cent in London.
MP Kate Osborne joins picket line
09:52 , Miriam Burrell
Newcastle pickets started early this am - I've just stopped by to give my solidarity @ASLEFunion
It's so cold, so hopefully coffees I took along will warm them up a bit.
Thank you for standing up for passengers safety as well as pay!
We need railways run for people not profit. pic.twitter.com/B482rjQ69M
— Kate Osborne MP (@KateOsborneMP) February 3, 2023
Pictured: Picket line at Euston Station
09:39 , Miriam Burrell
RDG feels ‘closer to a deal’ with RMT compared to Aslef
09:28 , Miriam Burrell
Rail Delivery Group (RDG) chair Steve Montgomery is “hopeful” that the latest offer to the RMT union will stop its strikes.
Asked if the RDG was closer to a deal with the RMT compared to Aslef, Mr Montgomery told Sky News: “Certainly we feel closer to a deal.
“RMT are presently consulting their members at this moment in time. What we are seeking from RMT is to put that offer out to a referendum to the members and let them decide whether this offer is acceptable as a best and final (one).
“I’m hopeful that the offer we’ve made will stop the strikes.”
But he said the dispute with Aslef was “going backwards” and talks “had not moved on as quickly as we’d like”.
Mr Montgomery said the disruption would last “all day”, with some services starting “slightly later” on Saturday morning.
Strikes might enter second year, Aslef chief says
08:47 , Miriam Burrell
Mick Whelan, general secretary of the Aslef union, said train drivers might enter a second or even third year of striking.
He told LBC radio on Friday that train drivers have not had a pay rise in four years.
Asked how much longer union members can financially sustain striking, Mr Whelan said: “If we don’t get a pay rise for four years will it be five, will it be six, will it be seven?
Hesaid that Aslef has made no progress in resolving its dispute with the Government in six months of striking.
Asked how likely it was that a deal could be struck during talks next week on February 7, he said: “We want a resolution. My people don’t want to be losing money, they don’t want to be standing out in the cold.”
Pictured: Paddington station deserted
08:27 , Miriam Burrell
Can I still use the Tube and bus?
07:57 , Miriam Burrell
Transport for London (TfL) has said the London Underground will not be affected by rail strikes on Friday.
There is a good service on all lines, including the Elizabeth Line.
Some routes may be busier than usual due to the unavailability of routes on other rail networks.
There are strikes taking place on some bus routes serviced by Abellio buses. This is largely in west and south London.
Around 1,900 members of Unite working as bus drivers for Abellio in London will complete a three-day strike on Friday in a separate dispute over pay.
RDG says strikes ‘unnecessary’
07:48 , Miriam Burrell
The Rail Delivery Group said it had made an offer which bumped up the average train driver salary by nearly £5,000.
A spokesperson said: “Having made an initial offer which would have taken average driver salaries from £60,000 to nearly £65,000, we had hoped the Aslef leadership would engage constructively to move talks forward, rather than staging more unnecessary strikes.
“To minimise the impact of the Aslef action, we advise passengers to check before they travel, allow extra time and find out when their first and last train will depart.”
Why are Aslef members striking?
07:44 , Miriam Burrell
Members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
Simon Weller, assistant general secretary of Aslef, said the dispute was going “backwards” because of the lack of progress in months of talks.
He said: “I don’t know whether to point the finger of blame at the ineptitude of the Department for Transport or the Rail Delivery Group.
“We would struggle to recommend a deal of a 4% pay rise for last year and 4% this year if there were no conditions attached, but we are being asked to give up collective bargaining and effectively agree to a no-strike deal.
“Obviously it was going to be rejected – it was designed to fail.”
He claimed the latest offer would add a “significant” number of contracted hours to a train driver.