STRIKES CANCELLED AFTER THE PASSING OF THE QUEEN
Unions representing Royal Mail postal workers and rail staff said that “out of respect for Queen Elizabeth II service to the country and her family” they had chosen to cancel immediate strike action.
Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.
Some shops have announced temporary closures as a mark of respect.
In reaction to the announcement, planned strike action by postal workers on Friday 9 September and RMT rail worker walkouts on 15th and 17th September was suspended. The train drivers’ union ASLEF also postponed a strike planned for 15th September.
The Rail Delivery Group said train timetables would be normal now that strikes were not going ahead.
A spokesperson from the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said it welcomed the decision by the RMT to call off next week’s strike action at a time of “national mourning.
The whole railway family is united in sending our condolences to the Royal Family,” the spokesperson said.
Network Rail has confirmed that train services will run as normal next week now all strikes planned for next Thursday and Friday have been called off.
It will also look at any scheduled weekend engineering works that fall within the “laying in state period” and scale it back. Works might be postponed if they prevent people from travelling to London to pay their respects.
The RMT union intends to reschedule the strikes, but has not yet decided when. It would need to give two weeks’ notice of any action, as would the ASLEF union.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that his union joined the “whole nation in paying its respects” to Queen Elizabeth.
He added: “We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country.”
Train drivers’ union ASLEF said: “In light of the sad news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, ASLEF is postponing its industrial action on 15th September. We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country.”
The TSSA rail union has also cancelled planned industrial action for September and said it would be “respecting the period of public mourning”.
Staff in the CWU, which represents postal workers, had been on strike on Thursday. But the union cancelled Friday’s planned walkout after the Queen’s death was announced.
Workers across a range of industries including BT call centre staff, Openreach engineers, railway workers and barristers have walked out in recent weeks in pay disputes as wages fall further behind soaring inflation of about 10%.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Following the very sad news of the passing of the Queen, and out of respect for her service to the country and her family, the union has decided to call off tomorrow’s planned strike action.”
Shops such as Selfridge’s, which was granted a royal warrant in 2001, closed early on Thursday and it said it would remain shut on Friday before reopening this weekend. Toy store chain The Entertainer will also be closed on Friday and offered its “sincere condolences” to the Royal Family.
Betting shops Betfred and William Hill have said they will close on Friday.