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Equalities and Rights Equalities and Rights

Agree minimum service levels for train companies during periods of industrial dispute

Last updated: 10:59pm 27 November 2018

We will work with train companies and their employees to agree minimum service levels during periods of industrial dispute – and if we cannot find a voluntary agreement, we will legislate to make this mandatory.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.60

Our verdict

According to the Office for National Statistics, “in 2017 the transport and storage sector accounted for around 68% of all working days lost in the UK (187,000 out of a total of 276,000) and 34% of all strikes (27 out of 79) occurred in that sector”

When workers at train companies strike, the impact is wide-reaching with delays and cancellations affecting thousands of passengers. The independent transport user watchdog Transport Focus found in their National Rail Passenger Survey in Spring 2018:

  • 45% of passengers were satisfied with value for money
  • 37% of passengers were satisfied with how delays were dealt with
  • 72% of passengers were satisfied with punctuality/reliability

This policy is a pledge to agree minimum service levels during periods of industrial dispute, or to legislate to make certain service levels mandatory if no agreement can be reached.

Rail services have been in the news again since this government came to power, most notably because of problems caused by new timetables introduced by Northern Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR). But we have found no evidence of discussions aimed at agreeing minimum service levels, nor any sign of the preliminary stages of legislation to fulfil this manifesto commitment.

We’ll be checking with government to see whether there has been any movement towards agreeing minimum service levels with train companies, unions and other employee groups. Once discussions are under way, or if the legislative process begins, we’ll be able to move this to ‘in progress’, but for now it’s ‘not started’. Follow this policy for updates.

Strike now, get the facts

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