More than 50,000 railway workers are set to strike across three days this month, which could impact trains in Hertfordshire.

RMT Union members who work at 13 rail firms and Network Rail are set to walk out on Tuesday June 21, Thursday June 23, and Saturday June 25 in a dispute over a pay freeze during the cost of living crisis.

The strike is set to hit Hertfordshire if Network Rail staff - who look after track and train signals - take part in national strike action.

Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, Greater Anglia, LNER and London Northwestern Railway staff who run trains through Hertfordshire are also set to strike.

Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, acknowledged that the strike is the union's largest since 1989 but urged ministers to negotiate pay with railway staff amid the cost of living crisis.

When is strike action set to take place?

The strike over rail staff pay and potential jobs losses is due to begin on Tuesday, June 21.

Staff will walk out at Network Rail, 13 railway firms and London Underground, and is set to include 50,000 workers.

On June 23 and 25, 40,000 staff are set to strike at Network Rail and 13 firms, but not London Underground.

An RMT spokesperson said walkout is likely to cause disruption on the days either side of strike action.

Which Hertfordshire train lines will be affected by strike action?

Strike action is set to hit Network Rail, which manages the railway. This could cause problems for all trains which run on tracks in Hertfordshire.

The 13 railway firms where staff are striking could overhaul their timetables throughout the strike week, and could suspended services altogether.

%image(15455979, type="article-full", alt="LNER trains between London King's Cross, Stevenage, northern England and Scotland are set to be affected")

In Hertfordshire, the affected firms are:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • Chiltern Railways
  • Greater Anglia - including Stansted Express
  • LNER
  • West Midlands Trains - including London Northwestern Railway

This could spell disruption at key interchanges such as Watford Junction, Stevenage and Bishop's Stortford.

RMT members at Govia Thameslink Railway - which runs Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink trains through Hertfordshire - voted not to walk out.

They will take "action short of a strike" and work to rule, which could impact trains through Royston, St Albans City, Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City and Watford Junction.

Angie Doll, Govia Thameslink Railway's chief operating officer, said: "We are extremely disappointed that passengers across the country now face the anxiety of rail disruption just as we are starting to recover from the pandemic.

"We urge the RMT to work with Network Rail and train operators to seek a swift resolution.

"Although RMT members at GTR voted only for action short of a strike, unfortunately we do expect our services to be very severely disrupted because of strike action affecting Network Rail and other train operators.

"We depend on Network Rail signallers and engineers to keep our trains moving, and our services connect with many lines and stations managed by other operators whose staff are taking action."

Elsewhere in the country, strike action is taking place at:

  • CrossCountry
  • c2c
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Great Western Railway
  • Northern
  • Southeastern
  • South Western Railway
  • Transpennine Express

Why are railway staff striking?

Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary said it is unfair that railway workers are facing a pay freeze when rail firms are making "at least £500m a year in profits".

He said: "Rail companies are making at least £500m a year in profits, whilst fat cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic."

Mr Lynch added: "Railway workers have been treated appallingly and despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry with the support of the government has failed to take their concerns seriously.

"We have a cost of living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1 percent and rising.

"Our union will now embark on a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system.

"RMT is open to meaningful negotiations with rail bosses and ministers, but they will need to come up with new proposals to prevent months of disruption on our railways."

%image(15455991, type="article-full", alt="Transport secretary Grant Shapps MP, pictured here at Welwyn Garden City in his constituency, said RMT's announcement is "very disappointing"")

But transport secretary Grant Shapps, who is also the MP for Welwyn Hatfield, said the move by RMT was "very disappointing".

Mr Shapps said: "It's very disappointing RMT Union is taking action which could damage the rail network after taxpayers contributed £16 billion - £600 per household - to keep jobs during Covid.

"We're working with the industry to reduce disruption caused by strike, but urge unions to come to talks with employers."

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