Travel chaos looms as train strikes set to hit Eurovision, the FA Cup final and Epsom Derby

28 April 2023, 00:15 | Updated: 28 April 2023, 10:26

More rail strikes are expected on the same day as Eurovision, the FA Cup final and Epsom
More rail strikes are expected on the same day as Eurovision, the FA Cup final and Epsom. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Train strikes are set to wreak havoc for popular spectacles in the coming weeks, as Eurovision, the FA Cup Final, the Army v Navy Rugby and Epsom are all due to be hit by industrial action.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Rail workers at 14 train operators are set to strike on the day of the Eurovision Song Contest final after talks to end the long-term pay dispute fell through.

The contest will be held in Liverpool, the first time Eurovision has come to the UK since 1998.

It will see fans from across Europe arrive to take in the spectacle - but they could find their trip frustrated by cancelled or delayed trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out on May 13 after turning down "clarification" on an offer from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

The RMT said the offer included a first-year payment of 5% but only if the union terminated its industrial mandate, meaning no further strike action could take place.

The union said discussions would then have to begin without it having any industrial leverage at the negotiating table.

Read more: Nurses' strike in England to be cut short by one day, judge rules

Read more: April teacher strikes 2023: What are the dates after pay deal was rejected?

Train drivers to stage three fresh strikes - including on FA Cup final day

Disruption will hit the FA Cup final
Disruption will hit the FA Cup final. Picture: Alamy

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "The RDG have reneged on their original proposals and torpedoed these negotiations.

"No doubt their decision is due to pressure exerted on them by the Tory Government.

"Therefore, we have no alternative but to press ahead with more strike action and continue our campaign for a negotiated settlement on pay, conditions and job security.

"We are re-balloting our members and if we beat the draconian anti-trade union laws on turnout, we will have a renewed mandate for action.

"We will then put on a further programme of strike action to make the employers and the Government, who continue to hold the puppet strings, see sense in this dispute."

Listen to LBC on Global Player: Podcasts, news and radio highlights
Listen to LBC on Global Player: Podcasts, news and radio highlights. Picture: Global Player
Eurovision will be hit by the strikes
Eurovision will be hit by the strikes. Picture: Alamy

It comes after it was announced earlier that drivers union Aslef would also be striking on May 12 and 31, as well as June 3 - the day of the FA Cup Final and the Epsom Derby.

Fans will need to get to London from the North West as Manchester United take on Manchester City in what will be a hotly-contested derby.

The Red Devils will hope to prevent their rivals from potentially winning a treble this season, if Man City can secure the Premier League title and win the Champions League.

As many as 90,000 fans can attend the final at Wembley but many more will be looking to travel to the capital to soak up the atmosphere in the clash.

Epsom, meanwhile, attracts hundreds of thousands of fans.

The derby at Epsom will be affected
The derby at Epsom will be affected. Picture: Alamy

The RMT is re-balloting its members on 14 train operating companies to determine whether it will continue taking industrial action, with a result expected on May 4.

The union said if it beats all the legal thresholds for turnout and achieves a "yes" vote, it will have a further six-month strike mandate.