Rail strikes in the United Kingdom have caused significant disruption for commuters across the country. The recent set of strikes has been called by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union in protest against changes to the role of train guards. As of yet, there are no new dates in the calendar for strikes, but rumours are circulating about fresh strikes to disrupt the nation's public transport system.
The dispute centres around whether train guards should be responsible for opening and closing train doors, or whether this should be the sole responsibility of the driver. The RMT union argues that having guards responsible for opening and closing doors is essential for passenger safety, whereas train operators argue that it is unnecessary and not cost-effective.
The strikes have affected a number of train operators, including Southern, South Western Railway, Northern, and Merseyrail. Many services have been cancelled, and others have been disrupted, with trains running on reduced timetables.
Commuters have been frustrated and angry with the strikes, with many taking to social media to voice their complaints. Some have called for the government to intervene, while others have criticised both the RMT union and train operators for not reaching a resolution to the dispute.
The strikes have also had a significant impact on businesses, with strikes that affected a busy sporting schedule in London with Football League play-offs at the same time and particularly those that rely on commuters for their customers. Many shops and restaurants in affected areas have reported a decline in trade, with some even forced to shut temporarily due to the disruption.
However, the strikes have also received support from some. The RMT union has argued that it is standing up for passenger safety and has accused train operators of putting profits before people. Some passengers have shown their support for the strikes, arguing that having guards responsible for opening and closing doors provides an extra layer of security.
The government is urging both sides to come together and reach a resolution to the dispute. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has called the strikes "unnecessary" and is calling for the RMT union to return to the negotiating table.
In response, the RMT union is accusing the government of ignoring the concerns of train workers. The union has argued that the changes to the role of guards are part of a wider push towards driver-only trains, which it claims are both unsafe and unpopular with passengers.
As things stand, there are no new dates for any more rail strikes. However, further disruption is expected. With both sides showing no signs of buckling, it remains to be seen when further strike action will take place or whether a resolution suiting both parties will be reached.