How will the rail strikes affect people in Suffolk?

Trains will be stopping at Ipswich railway station on the rail strike days this week.

Some trains will be stopping at Ipswich railway station on the rail strike days this week. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Rail services in Suffolk and around the country are set to be disrupted by strike action this week – here's what you need to know.

Greater Anglia says people should expect severe disruption and should only travel when necessary.

Here's everything you need to know about the strikes and how they'll affect you.

Why are the rail workers striking?

Bosses at the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) – the trade union which represents all sorts of railway workers, not just train drivers – say that workers face thousands of job cuts, worse pensions and terms and conditions, as well as a real-terms pay cut.

Union negotiators say they have asked for pay increases in line with inflation and reassurances that there will not be compulsory redundancies.

Tim Shoveller, lead negotiator for Network Rail, one of the companies involved in the dispute, said: “We are absolutely committed to trying to find a way through this.

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“As always, this is about how we can make the railway more efficient to generate the funds so that we can make the pay awards that our colleagues want.”

However, because the RMT and the companies which run the railways have not been able to come to a negotiated settlement the strikes are set to go ahead this week.

What are the dates of the rail strikes? 

The strikes are taking place on June 21, 23 and 25 – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday this week.

Which trains will be running in Suffolk this week?

On the strike days the only lines open for passengers will be the main lines from London to Norwich and from London to Cambridge.

There will be an hourly service on the line between Norwich and London. The first train will leave Norwich at 8am and the last will leave at 4pm. From London, the first train will leave at 8.30am, the last at 4.30pm. 

All Intercity trains will stop at Ipswich, Stowmarket, Diss, Manningtree, Colchester, Chelmsford and Stratford.

There will be one stopping train an hour from Colchester to London and return with the first from Colchester leaving at 7.30am and the last at 4.25pm. The first train from London will be at 8am and the last at 5pm. There will also be an hourly service on the line between Liverpool Street and Cambridge.

Other routes, including those from Ipswich to Lowestoft or Ipswich to Cambridge will see no trains whatsoever.

The 24-hour strikes will also have a knock-on effect on services on days immediately before and after the days when industrial action is taking place, so customers are advised to check before they travel.

Rail workers are striking on June 21, 23 and 25 this week.

Rail workers are striking on June 21, 23 and 25 this week. - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

How long will this go on for?

Currently, there is only one week of strike action planned.

However, RMT union bosses say they have a mandate for six months of strike action and they could ballot members to get more if possible.

But workers do not get paid when they are on strike and during the cost-of-living crisis families' savings may not last long.

The government and railway company bosses may be betting they can win this 'war of attrition' to bring the strike action to an end.

How else can I travel?

Other methods of transport around the county are not affected by the strikes so should be running as normal.

But they have been warned that roads could be busier than norm.

An AA route planner spokesman said: “Even though the strike is for three days, many travellers will give up on the trains for the whole week.

“It coincides with big events like Glastonbury and the Goodwood Festival of Speed, so drivers not going to those locations are advised to give the areas a wide berth.

“Generally we predict a big increase in traffic in Scotland, Wales and major routes across the UK."

What happens next?

It is not entirely clear that anything will change in the immediate future.

John Leach, RMT assistant general secretary, said railway workers were "some of the most determined, professional, dedicated people you’ll ever meet" and were determined to see the strike action through.

The Labour party is calling for the government to take a seat at the negotiating table to help bring the dispute to an end.

However, Treasury chief secretary Simon Clarke said the government getting involved would “confuse things”.