Monday, May 27News For London

A calamitous Christmas for university students as rail strikes surge in the UK

More than 400,000 RMT workers will continue to strike until January 2023, leaving students stranded this Christmas.

Harrow-On-The-Hill Underground Station. Photo credit: Tyler Nicholas

Many university students are set for a bleak Christmas this year as The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have refused the pay rise offer of 4 percent from train operators.

This means that students will struggle to get home to their families this Christmas and may have to spend the holidays alone in their accommodations.

RMT General Secretary, Mick Lynch made a statement on the unions decision to turn down the proposition on Sunday. He said: “We have rejected this offer, as it does not meet any of our criteria for securing a settlement on long term job security, a decent pay rise and protecting working conditions.”

Milan, 18, a first year student at the University of Leicester, said: “Personally, I can understand why transport workers feel the need to strike, not that I know a lot on the subject, but if a lot of them are in agreement that they need to strike then there is definitely a problem.”

She added: “However, for people like me or just anyone in general who uses public transport, it is very unfair that we must suffer the consequences because they’re not being paid a lot.”

James, 24, from Southbank University expressed that although he is not affected by the transport strikes, they are a public nuisance.

He said: “Many students travel to see family and friends during Christmas. How are they supposed to travel when there is no transportation?”

Misha, 22, a student from Nottingham, said: “The strikes won’t affect me as I will be driving, but I do think that it is an extreme disturbance to those that rely on transport to travel around the UK this Christmas, especially students.”

Westminster World spoke with a member of RMT who was adamant that the union made the correct decision in rejecting the offer.

He said: “I think it was the correct decision that we need a decent pay rise, and they knew we wouldn’t agree to their offer. However, they still put it forward to try to make out like we are being difficult and that we are causing people to miss out on visiting their families over Christmas.”

“These guilt tripping tactics are designed to pressure us into accepting less than we deserve and it’s not acceptable,” he added.

Continuous transport delays and disruptions may lead to a decline in the number of students who choose to study outside of London.