January 25, 2023

Families driving home for the festive period are facing travel woes with new train strikes due to take place from 6pm on Christmas Eve.

Thousands of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at National Rail walk away on Saturday evenings, stopping train service at 3 p.m.

An overtime ban on Friday is also causing major disruption to services from a number of operators, including Chiltern Railways, East Midlands Railway and South Western Railway.

The lack of trains will see many switch to road transport, with analysis firm Inrix expecting road journey times to be some 14% longer compared to the same period last year.

Read more:
Who strikes when and why?

A perfect storm of heavy rain and motorway collisions has further added pressure on Britain’s road network.

Accidents on the M1 and flooding that has caused a partial closure of the M25 are among the disruptions causing major traffic congestion on the Friday before Christmas, the AA warned.

The insurance company said it experienced 9,000 breakdowns during the day, with more expected as commuters continue to join flight traffic.

The RAC urged motorists to pre-check their vehicles before leaving to reduce the likelihood of a breakdown.

National Highways said nearly 98% of England’s motorways and major A roads will be fully open until the end of January 2 due to the completion and lifting of roadworks.

Further strikes on Christmas Eve

There have been strikes every day in December – and Christmas Eve is no different.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) walk out in a long-running dispute over pay and Royal Mail’s modernization plans.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) on the picket line outside Birmingham's Central Delivery Office and Mail Center as Royal Mail workers stage new strikes in the days before Christmas in the increasingly bitter dispute over jobs, wages and working conditions.  Photo date: Friday December 23, 2022.
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Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) on the picket line outside the Central Delivery Office and Mail Center in Birmingham

Environment Agency Unison staff refuse to voluntarily take part in incidents and National Highway workers strike in London and the South East continues

Anyone wishing to fly to the UK could be delayed as Border Force officials strike at Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow and Manchester airports, as well as terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5 at Heathrow and Newhaven Port until the 26 dec.

Operations at Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, continue to run “smoothly”, a spokesman said.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union take part in a frontier workers' strike near Heathrow Airport
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Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union take part in a frontier workers’ strike near Heathrow Airport

They add that despite the striking workers, there have been no flight cancellations and no excessive queues in the immigration halls.

Nurses announce new strike dates

In the meantime, thousands of nurses will go on strike again on January 18 and 19, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced.

The union said further strike dates will be confirmed in the new year.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) on the picket line outside Liverpool's Alder Hey Children's Hospital as nurses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland stage industrial action over pay.  Photo date: Thursday December 15, 2022.
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Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) on the picket line outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool

It comes after nurses walked out on December 15 and 20 over a wage dispute, and just days after health sector bosses warned the government about the risk to patient safety posed by the union action.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “The government had the option of ending this dispute before Christmas, but instead they chose to push nursing staff out into the cold again in January.

“I don’t want to prolong this dispute, but the Prime Minister has left us no choice.”

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