UK strikes round-up: continued rail disruption, logistics updates and French ports

Fri 27 Jan 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Man with head in hands at train station

The UK faces a continued period of sustained industrial action, the impact to business and international trade continues to be a source of concern.

Here, the IOE&IT Daily Update rounds up the latest in strikes.

Rail strikes

A continuing series of strikes by rail workers are being expected to carry into February.

The train drivers’ union, Aslef, warned of “irreparable damage” to negotiations with train companies, according to the FT.

On 1 and 3 February, members of both Aslef and the RMT are expected to walk out in continued disputes over pay and working conditions.

Last week, train operating companies made a ‘best and final offer’ to unions in an attempt to break the deadlock.

The RMT acknowledged the offer and promised to give an update “in due course”, but has not responded since.

Postal strikes

Royal Mail has given an update on the impact on strikes on the bottom line.

Parent company International Distributions Services (IDS) said the 18 days of walkouts have cost it £200m so far.

Sky News reports that there is no obvious end in sight for the dispute, as a new ballot is taking place among its 112,000 frontline staff for continued industrial action.

In good news for the company, it announced that “further progress” had been made on the cyber incident that had previously impacted international services.

According a statement, Thursday 26 January International Tracked & Signed as well as International Signed services to all destinations for business account customers and customers buying postage online will be resumed.

Amazon

Logistics giant Amazon played down the impact of strikes on customers after being hit by the first formal walkout by its workers in the UK.

In a statement, the company said only a “a tiny proportion of our workforce is involved” and that normal operations were continuing.

Earlier in this week, 300 staff based in the Coventry branch downed tools, according to Sky News.

While a 24-hour stoppage of a few hundred workers is unlikely to cause too much damage to the organisation, the union GMB has suggested that this could be a catalyst for more widespread industrial action, as reported by The Times.

Last year, several Amazon facilities faced unplanned walkouts over pay and working conditions.

French port strikes

French strikes over pension reforms are expected to have a muted effect on UK-France channel traffic.

Members of French union CGT called for port workers – as well as members of the energy and refinement industry – to down tools over president Macron’s planned reforms to the pension system.

However, two officials have downplayed the impact.