FROM today, millions of passengers will see their journeys disrupted as rail strikes begin.

Around 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators have walked out.

It comes after last-ditch discussions between ministers and the union failed to resolve a dispute over wages, jobs, and working conditions. 

Here is everything you need to know about the strikes and how they will affect you. 

Daily Echo:

When are the strikes? 

The three-day walkout begins today and two more strikes are planned on Thursday, June 23 and Saturday, June 25. 

Significant disruption is also expected on Wednesday, June 22, Friday, June 24 and Sunday, June 26.

Why are the strikes taking place? 

The RMT union is leading the strike as a result of a disagreement over job losses. 

Tens of thousands of rail staff are demanding a pay rise that keeps up with inflation.

South Western Railway’s managing director, Claire Mann, said: "The sheer scale of this planned industrial action severely limits the number of trains we can run and routes we can serve, which is reflected in the reduced timetable we have published today.  

"I am sorry these strikes will cause such disruption and am grateful to our customers for their patience and understanding as the rail industry works to bring this damaging nationwide action to an end.”Daily Echo:

How will this affect you?

Due to the planned national strike, commuters are urged to only travel by rail if absolutely necessary between Tuesday, June 21 and Sunday, June 26.

Motorists are also warned to expect a surge in traffic as train passengers switch to cars.

Two fast trains per hour will run in each direction between London Waterloo and Southampton Central.

A severely limited service will run between 7.15am and 6.30pm on some routes for those who have no choice but to travel. 

SWR will run a late-starting Sunday level of service across the network on June 22, 24 and 26. 

There will be no trains to Glastonbury from Southampton on those days.

Daily Echo:

What is the reduced timetable? 

  • Four trains per hour in each direction between Waterloo and Windsor via Hounslow 
  • Two semi-fast trains per hour in each direction between Waterloo and Basingstoke  
  • Four trains per hour in each direction between Waterloo and Woking 
  • Two fast trains per hour in each direction between Waterloo and Southampton

Trains will not stop at all stations on these routes. 

There will be no South Western Railway services across the rest of the network. 

Services will call at Southampton Central, Southampton Airport Parkway, Eastleigh, Winchester, Basingstoke, Woking, Clapham Junction, and London Waterloo. 

Meanwhile, the cross-country train will leave Southampton Central at 12.15pm and will reach Manchester Piccadilly at 4.27pm. 

Services will call at Southampton Central, Southampton Airport Parkway, Winchester, Basingstoke, Reading, Oxford, Banbury, Leamington Spa, Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Stafford and Manchester Piccadilly. 

Daily Echo:

What has Southampton MP said? 

Commenting on the strike, the MP for Southampton Itchen, Royston Smith, said he fears an economic downturn. 

Mr Smith said: "The taxpayer-supported many industries and public sector workers throughout the pandemic. 

"This strike action will further damage our fragile economy just when we are starting to get back on our feet. 

"The railways need to agree to modernise. Only then will the employer know how much they can afford in pay increases."

Daily Echo:

Can I claim compensation or a refund? 

Southern Western Railway confirmed: "If you have already purchased daily tickets for 21-26 June, and you decide not to travel because the service you originally intended to travel on is no longer running or has been retimed, you will be able to claim a fee-free refund, or use the same ticket to travel the day before the date shown on the ticket or any day after, up to and including 28 June

"Monthly and longer season ticket holders who were unable to travel or followed the advice and chose not to travel on 21, 23 or 25 June can claim compensation through our Delay Repay scheme. Please make one claim for each day affected and select a delay of 120+ minutes to claim back the value of one day’s travel. 

Customers are urged to check the SWR website for the latest information.

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