Rail strikes in Somerset – update

New rail strike days have been announced by the RMT union. These will result in severe disruption on Somerset train services on strike days which will be:

  • Thursday 16 March
  • Saturday 18 March
  • Thursday 30 March
  • Saturday 1 April

SWR have yet to say what impact the strikes will have on the services they run through Somerset.

GWR have announced their services. On strike days there will be no services on the line from Westbury to Weymouth. There will also be no service from Taunton to Westbury. That means no trains at Castle Cary, Bruton, Yeovil Penn Mill and Frome.

There will be a limited service from Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads. There will also be an infrequent service from Bristol Temple Meads to Plymouth. That will call at Taunton. GWR have not confirmed if it will stop ate Bridgwater and Highbridge.

On 17 March GWR have said there will be a “reduced” service across the network but have not specified what that means. They may do so nearer the time.

In the meantime the Rail Delivery Group which represents train companies are calling on the RMT to abandon strike action. Their spokesperson said: “The RMT leadership’s decision to put Network Rail’s deal to its membership is a welcome development, but train operating staff will rightly be asking why their union continues to deny them the opportunity to have their say on our equivalent offer. Instead of inflicting more lost pay on its members and disruption to our passengers, we are calling on the union to call off their strikes and meet us for urgent talks to resolve this dispute.

The offer is, the RDG claim “fair and affordable” They say it is an offer that recognises the very real financial challenges faced by the railway post-pandemic and the changes we need to make to help support them, while giving colleagues a 9% rise over 22/23 pay award period, and employment security guarantees.”

The Leveller contacted the RDG. We asked, if the offer put to the RMT is “fair and affordable” why wasn’t it put to the union back in summer 2022. That would perhaps have saved a lot of unwelcome disruption too. The RDG spokesperson responded: “It is the nature of negotiations that compromises and potential solutions to challenges can be explored by both sides.

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