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Disruption to Public Transport

July 2022

As commuters are only too aware, further national strikes by rail workers are planned in the upcoming weeks as part of the ongoing dispute over jobs, pay and working conditions. At time of writing, the RMT has confirmed that industrial action will go ahead on:

• Thursday 18 August; and

• Saturday 20 August.

In addition, ASLEF union members are holding separate strikes on:

• Saturday 30 July; and

• Saturday 13 August.

As a result of the strike action, commuters are being urged to avoid travel on those days unless absolutely necessary.

So where do employers stand if their employees cannot come to work because of the rail strikes?

First and foremost, employers are not required to pay their employees if they cannot commute to work because of the rail strikes. It is the employee’s responsibility to get to and from work and so, if this is not possible, the employer can regard such absence as unauthorised. Such an approach is not, however, likely to have a positive impact on employee relations, especially as the industrial action is showing no sign of coming to an end any time soon. A more pragmatic approach, therefore, is to speak to employees well ahead of time to try and work out possible solutions on an individual basis. These may include allowing employees to work from home during the days the rail strikes are due to take place or allowing them to request the time off as annual leave.

Employers should be clear with employees about their approach to strike days and, in this connection, can refer to the Severe Weather and Disruption to Public Transport Policy.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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