Rail companies going all out to keep passengers moving as new poll reveals business concern about attempted RMT strike disruption

New research reveals that three quarters of business decision makers fear that union strikes will harm the economy.

  • New research reveals that three quarters of business decision makers fear that union strikes will harm the economy.
  • Train companies working hard to keep any negative impact on our local businesses, high streets and schools to a minimum, despite attempted RMT disruption.
  • Rail leader calls strike action "unnecessary" - all jobs are guaranteed.
  • RMT urged to get behind a new plan by Britain’s public and private partnership railway to change and improve, securing prosperity across the country and delivering 40,000 more jobs across the industry.

As the RMT leadership gears up for another round of co-ordinated strike action across Britain, new research from YouGov has revealed that almost three quarters of business decision-makers fear rail strikes will harm the economy with three in ten believing that it could directly harm their businesses.

The findings come as the RMT prepares to strike on Wednesday 8th November across the north and south of England on Greater Anglia, Merseyrail, Northern Railway, Southern Railway and South Western Railway. The strike will continue on Thursday 9th for the train operators that run services into London.

The strikes come in the wake of long-term co-ordinated campaign of industrial action which has seen the RMT stage walk outs designed to cause maximum pain for passengers and local economies. Previous efforts have seen the union attempt to disrupt events of national importance, including the Grand National, the Tour de Yorkshire, and the return of schools and businesses from the summer break.

Despite the concerns, Britain’s railway has committed to doing all it can to keep the economy on track and passengers moving, with several companies redeploying staff to do other roles, laying on replacement buses, and rescheduling their timetables. In those areas affected, passengers are being urged to check before they travel.

Last week Britain’s partnership railway launched its plan for Britain’s prosperity, to secure nearly £85bn of extra economic benefits for the country and 40,000 additional jobs across the industry. The plan includes four commitments to strengthen the economy, deliver improved services for customers, better connect communities and bring more jobs, more diversity and more rewarding careers in rail. It comes as Ipsos MORI research reveals that investment in rail is the top priority for Britons.

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, representing train companies, said:

“We know how vital the railway is to local businesses, communities and commuters and are pulling out all the stops to keep people moving. Our long-term plan to secure £85 billion in economic benefits for the country, while enabling further investment and improvement, will deliver 6,400 extra services per week and 40,000 new jobs, securing a bright future for our employees.

"It is a great shame that the RMT leadership has decided not to play its part in helping to deliver our plan for Britain's railway, and is intent instead on this unnecessary and regressive industrial action."


Notes to editors

RMT strikes

All affected train companies are doing all they can to run as many services as possible on strike days:

YouGov poll of business leaders

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size nationally was 1,007 British business decision makers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2 and 10 October 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size.

New research from YouGov reveals that the majority of business leaders believe rail strike action is hurting the UK economy.

  • Almost three quarters (73%) of UK business decision makers believe that future rail strikes such as those on Wednesday and Thursday will harm the economy. Three in ten (29%) GB business leaders believe that rail strikes directly impact their business.


Contact Information

Rail Delivery Group Media Team