Train and airport strikes spark Christmas warning – latest travel news

Related: Ambulance strike to continue as talks fail to break deadlock

Families are urged to put their Christmas travel plans into action “as soon as possible” as the four-day highway strike, which coincides with new rail strikes, threatens travel mayhem during the festive season.

National Highway workers are striking from today until Christmas Day in the final phase of industrial action by the largest utility union.

The strike involved members of the Public and Business Services union, road traffic officers and operations center staff in London and southeast England.

Industrial action on Britain’s rail network from Friday will mean some services will stop before national strikes on Saturday Christmas Eve.

As workers prepare to go out of business, the government has announced that regulated rail fares will rise by up to 5.9% next year.

The Independent’s Simon Calder urged drivers to hit the road “as soon as possible” and said: “I’ve never seen a Christmas like this for travel stress.

“Things will get very difficult towards the end of the week and on Christmas day as the roads will be very crowded.

“And railroads – services will either end on Friday night or pretty early on Saturday.”

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Rail fares set ‘wild’

The worker was struck by the “wild” rail fare increase after the Ministry of Transport announced an increase of up to 5.9%.

Shadow transportation secretary Louise Haigh said: “This brutal pay rise will be a sick joke for the millions who rely on crumbling services.

“People above and below this country are paying the price for 12 years of Tory’s failure.”

Jane Dalton22 December 2022 12:47

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Border Force boss says prepare for disruption

Border Force chiefs warned passengers to prepare for disruption.

Head of operations Steve Dann said “robust plans are in place” to limit the impact of the strikes, but that “the contingency workforce cannot operate with the same efficiency as our permanent workforce.”

Electronic passport gates will be open but cannot be used by all passengers, such as children under the age of 12.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, urged people to voice their anger against the government.

“If the government puts more money on the table it can stop these strikes tomorrow,” he said.

The worst disruption could be at Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, where 579 flights should land today.

Jane Dalton22 December 2022 12:41

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Border Force quits to delay air travelers

Nearly a quarter of a million passengers arriving at UK airports today have been warned to expect delays when the Border Force strikes begin.

About 1,000 members of the Public and Business Services (PCS) union, employed by the Home Office to operate passport booths, will march at Heathrow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow and Manchester airports and Newhaven harbor in East Sussex.

Border Force attacks will take place every day until the end of the year, except Tuesday, December 27.

Aviation data firm Cirium said today that 1,290 flights, with a combined capacity of more than a quarter million passengers, are scheduled to land at the affected airports.

This is the busiest Christmas for airports since 2019, as this is the first holiday season without coronavirus travel restrictions since the start of the pandemic.

There are fears that delays in checking the passports of arriving passengers could lead to long queues and even people being held on board, disrupting later departures.

Military personnel and volunteers from the Civil Service were trained to engage.

Jane Dalton22 December 2022 12:30

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Rail fares will increase by up to 5.9 percent

The Department of Transport has announced that regulated rail fares in the UK will increase by up to 5.9% from 5 March next year.

Transport Minister Mark Harper said: “This is the largest government intervention in rail fares ever. I keep the increase well below inflation to help reduce the impact on passengers.

“This is a fair balance between the passengers who use our trains and the taxpayers who pay them.”

Jane Dalton22 December 2022 12:21

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What National Highways strikes mean for drivers

Jane Dalton22 December 2022 12:13

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Government can ‘fast-track’ NHS pay rise in 2023 as more strikes unfold

According to reports, Rishi Sunak’s government may step up an NHS salary increase next year after the historic 48-hour strikes of nurses and paramedics.

Health Minister Steve Barclay is said to be ready to introduce an accelerated salary agreement in 2023 to prevent new industrial action next year.

A source close to Mr Barclay said he was willing to “speed up” the payroll review process – which will begin in April – to give NHS staff a pay raise to get out of the stalemate.

Emily Atkinson22 December 2022 11:45

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Railway strikes begin in France

Semi-official strikes by train guards in France upset the Christmas travel plans of an estimated 200,000 passengers at national operator SNCF.

Hundreds of guards working for the SNCF will stop working over the next two weekends as part of a wage dispute. They rejected a deal offering a €600 (£522) bonus in addition to an overall 6 percent salary increase in the railway organisation.

Their union, SUD Rail, did not officially endorse the strike, which was coordinated by a “national guard unit” known on social media as the CNA. However, the union does assist with strike-related communications.

As in the UK, Friday is expected to be the busiest day of winter as travelers head to Christmas destinations. Many trains were fully booked before the strike.

Two of the three TGVs (bullet trains) are expected to travel between Paris and the south of France and from the capital to the Atlantic. About half of the trains in the north of France and 75 percent of the services between Paris and Strasbourg on the German border will operate.

Christophe Fanichet, CEO of SNCF, told radio station Franceinfo that the Christmas and New Year strikes were “truly unacceptable” and that passengers with advance tickets whose trains were canceled will be refunded twice the original cost of their journey.

Alternatively, passengers can switch to another day when seats are available and not have to pay for any fare difference.

Simon Calder22 December 2022 11:30

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Christmas travel chaos: All train and flight issues to navigate this week

Winter’s busiest week for travel has kicked off with millions of people on the move from today until December 25th. But travelers face a wide variety of disruptions to railroads and skies as strikes, staff shortages and weather conditions combine to create a travel nightmare before Christmas.

Our travel correspondent Simon Calder The race has everything you need to know to get started:

Emily Atkinson22 December 2022 11:15

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National Highways strikes will spread into the New Year

The National Highways strikes in London begin today and will last until Christmas Day – but union leaders warn this is just the beginning.

Industrial action on UK roads will resume on 30 December as PCS members on the traffic officer service in the West Midlands and south-west England take action.

Strikes will then hit the East Midlands and eastern England on January 6.

PCS also says that all National Highways members working for the traffic officer service will take action on January 3 and 4.

Emily Atkinson22 December 2022 11:00

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Railroad chaos spreads ahead of next national rail strike

Rail passengers between London, the West Midlands, northwest England, north Wales and southern Scotland encounter delays and crowded trains.

Avanti West Coast canceled at least 40 flights to and from London Euston on Thursday, blaming a lack of crew. Intermittent services include five routes between the capital and Manchester Piccadilly and the same number to and from Liverpool Lime Street.

Passengers between London, Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield will no longer use northbound trains after 7:35 p.m. on Thursday, ahead of a strike by Unite union members working for East Midlands Railway.

On Friday, December 23, a skeleton shuttle will operate on Christmas Eve morning with no trains except the Corby-London shuttle.

The next RMT national strike starts at 6:00 pm on December 24 and ends at 06:00 on December 27.

Simon Calder22 December 2022 10:45

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