Train services from Bristol Temple Meads are expected to be “severely disrupted” in October as staff at GWR join thousands of UK railway workers walking out over pay. Hundreds of engineers who work for GWR are planning to join workers across the country taking part in industrial action. Workers union Unite said around 350 of its members who work for the train operator will join the protests on October 1.
Unite said its members who work for GWR were facing the third year of having their pay frozen. GWR’s parent company, First Group, made pre-tax profits of £654m in the 2021-2022 financial year. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “For years, the wages of our Great Western Railway members have failed to keep up. With rocketing prices, the value of their pay is now falling even further behind.
“Great Western Railway and its owners First Group can absolutely afford to pay a decent rise – it is simply unacceptable that they are refusing to do so while sitting on such enormous profits. They need to put forward an offer that reflects the rising cost of living for GWR workers.” As well as the Bristol depot, GWR Unite members in London, Exeter, Tiverton, Plymouth, Swindon, Swansea, Reading, Penzance and Oxford will also be going on strike. If the dispute is not resolved then more strikes will be scheduled, Unite said.
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Unite regional officer John McGookin added: “Any disruption to Great Western Railways’ services will be entirely the fault of the company for failing to put forward a pay rise. They must come back with an acceptable offer.”
GWR declined to comment on the walk out. However, it is understood that train services will be severely disrupted on October 1 and some parts of the GWR network will have no train service at all. Strike days are also planned on October 5 and October 8. Train services on the days following the industrial action will also be disrupted.
On October 1, an extremely limited service will operate between 7.30am and 6.30pm, and the last trains will leave much earlier. Rail services will only operate on the following routes – between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington; Reading and Didcot; and Reading and Basingstoke. There will be no other train services on the GWR network.
GWR’s website said: “Where we are able to run services, they are expected to be extremely busy and we are not able to provide bus replacement services. Online journey planners will be updated with the latest timetable information as soon as possible.
“Passengers are advised to find alternative ways to travel on these days. Only travel by train if absolutely necessary. The majority of train services will not operate and there will be no services on many routes.”
Customers who have already purchased tickets for strike days can claim a full refund or amend their ticket, according to GWR. Those who travel and are delayed may be entitled to Delay Repay compensation if they are delayed by 15 minutes or more. Season ticket holders can apply for compensation through the Delay Repay scheme.
GWR is allowing people with tickets for travel on alternative days as follows:
- tickets for travel on 1 October are valid for travel on 30 September, 2, 3, and 4 October
- tickets for travel on 2 October are valid for travel on 2, 3, and 4 October
- tickets for travel on 5 October are valid for travel on 4, 6, and 7 October
- tickets for travel on 8 October are valid for travel on 7, 9, 10, and 11 October
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