National Rail Strike: Why workers are striking and how this affects Bournemouth residents

Train drivers will continue strike action across the country into the new year, and issues with pay are not the only reason.

Thousands of workers from multiple companies have chosen to strike over Christmas and New Year due to disputes with the government about pay, job cuts, and changes to terms and conditions. 

Image of the entrance to Bournemouth Station
Photography: Isabel McKenna

Workers of South Western Railway (SWR) feel the reason for striking is misunderstood by the public and the media.

Haz Dackalia, 54, a train driver for SWR, has said: “With the cost of living crisis the wage we earn is just an affordable wage when taking into account the price of bills and inflation.

“I’m very lucky that I’m debt and mortgage free, and in a relatively good financial position so I’m not striking for me. I’m striking for the younger workers who have a sizeable mortgage, maybe a family, and a car on finance, who have to pay soaring bills, and are struggling due to this crisis.”

Karen Broadhurst, 47, a member of the platform staff explains how her lack of job security is concerning in the current economic crisis.

She has said: “if anyone found out there was a high chance that their job could become obsolete in the near future, I’m sure they would take any action they could to stand up for their rights”. 

Read More: The Cost of Living Crisis and BCP Council

A pay deal has been proposed to workers offering a pay rise and job security until 2025. 

Accepting this would mean agreeing to changes in working conditions, including making Sundays and bank holidays part of the working week and reducing annual leave.

SWR is still urging customers to only travel if necessary due to strike action.

Managing director of SWR, Claire Mann, has apologized to their customers and has thanked them for their “continued cooperation, patience, and understanding as the rail industry works to bring this damaging strike action to an end” in a statement posted online.

Sabrina Khan, 21, commutes into London twice a week and says: “I sympathize with the drivers, I really do, but they are not the only workers tackling the cost of living and I feel that these strikes are even harder to negotiate given that most sectors of industry are striking right now.”

The strikes will be continuing until the 8 January causing journey disruption for people across the country. 

For more information on how your journeys will be impacted, please click here

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