DfT specifies 40% rail service on strike days


The RMT union has slammed the Government’s Minimum Service Levels (MSLs) legislation as ‘an assault on the fundamental freedoms of working people’.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels: Passenger Railway Services) Regulations 2023 for rail workers, ambulance staff and border security staff were laid in Parliament on Tuesday (7 November).

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the legislation is not intended to prevent unions from taking industrial action but will create a new tool for employers to reduce ‘disproportionate’ impacts on passengers during strikes.

It said it expected that it will be possible for employers to use MSLs from mid-December.

Where a strike affects passenger train operation services, the MSL is the equivalent of 40% of the operator’s timetabled services during the strike.

Where a strike affects infrastructure services that enable the network to be used, such as strikes affecting Network Rail, the MSL is a list of routes operating between 6am and 10pm.

Where a strike affects listed light rail systems such as trams, undergrounds and metros in Great Britain, the MSL is 40% of that system’s timetabled services for the relevant strike day.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘We believe employers have the discretion not to issue minimum service work notices and as such we are calling on them not to issue them.

‘Any employer that seeks to issue a work notice will find themselves in a further dispute with my union.

‘Even the Government’s own impact assessment has said that the legislation could lead to more strikes so instead of attacking workers and their trade unions the Government should spend its time trying to resolve disputes not inflaming them.’

The DfT published the response to its consultation, in which the most popular service provision was 0-20% of normal, including respondents who considered no service to be acceptable on a strike day.

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