Update: The national rail strike will happen on May 25th (a bank holiday) with a ban on overtime working in place on the following Tuesday.
As we reported yesterday the first National Rail strike for 20 years could happen.
Will there actually be a strike? We don’t know for certain. We do know that RMT union members have voted to reject a pay offer and that 80% of those in the vote also favoured strike action. It seems like we need one of the groups involved to back down for the strike to be avoided.
The next question is; “If there is a national rail strike, when will it happen?” The union is obliged to give 7 days notice before calling a strike. Wildcat strikes, unofficial and unannounced ones, are possible but unlikely this week. They may happen if tensions between RMT members and Network Rail increase over the next few weeks.
Looking beyond the next seven days we see the upcoming Bank Holiday on the 25th of May as a possible date for the strike. There are already rumours that the strike will cover the weekend of May 23rd, May 24th and extend into the Bank Holiday Monday of May 25th.
After the long weekend of May 23, 24 and 25th the next bank holiday happens in Scotland on August the 3rd and in England and Wales on the 31st. It seems unlikely the RMT will wait this long but both but both August 3rd and August 31st are on Mondays, which mean the weekends of August 1st and 2nd and August 29th and 30th are at a slight risk.
If there isn’t a rail strike on the bank holiday weekend of May 23rd to 25th and if August is possible but unlikely; what other dates could the RMT union pick?
There are two dates from the political calendar. Monday the 18th of May is the start of the New Parliament. As there are proposals to change the laws around strikes it is possible that May 18th becomes the target date of a strike. That would mean the national rail strike would hit travellers of the weekend May 16 and 17. These dates come too soon, though, as the RMT would already have had to announce the strike.
The State Opening of Parliament, which includes a speech from the Throne, is on the 27th. May 27 is a Wednesday and while this does not rule out a strike; it makes it a little less likely.
Lastly, the FA Cup final and the Scottish Cup final, are both on the 30th of May. The 30th is a Saturday and therefore a potential candidate. Would the national rail strike be timed to disrupt the football? It feels unlikely. The RMT Union will want to try and manage the disruption of the strike with keeping the support of as many people as possible.
What do you think? If you’re worried you might be affected then we recommend booking a Liftshare in advance and avoid the trains entirely. Will there be a national rail strike? Let us know when you think it might happen in the comments below.