Train travel across the UK has come to a halt today as more than 50,000 rail employees are expected to go on strike.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has launched the biggest rail strike to hit the British network in a row over working conditions, government cuts and unsatisfactory pay rises against rising inflation.
The disruptions will affect many people across the UK including those who wished to travel by train to the likes of Glastonbury Festival, which will take place this weekend.
But can travellers get compensation and who is eligible for a refund?
Here’s everything you need to know:
Who is going on strike?
Workers who are members of the RMT union, who voted for industrial action in May 2022, will go on strike this week.
In the ballot, 89 per cent of workers who responded backed the strikes.
Some employees work for National Rail, while others work for 13 individual rail companies.
-Avanti West Coast
-East Midlands Railway
-South Western Railway
-West Midlands Trains
Employees who are set to go on strike include engineering workers, signalling staff, caterers, and guards.
How long will the strikes last?
The official strike days will take place over three days, starting from today (June 21).
However, rail operators have warned travellers that there will be disruption across the whole week due to the knock-on effects of the strikes.
Why are workers going on strike?
On 18 June, the RMT union released a statement saying: ‘In the past few weeks, discussions have been taking place at senior level with Network Rail, train operators and London Underground.
‘Despite the best efforts of our negotiators no viable settlements to the disputes have been created.
‘It has to be re-stated that the source of these disputes is the decision by the Tory government to cut £4bn of funding from our transport systems - £2bn from national rail and £2bn from Transport for London.
‘As a result of this transport austerity imposed by the government, the employing companies have taken decisions to:
-Savage the Railway Pension Scheme and the TFL scheme, cutting benefits, making staff work longer, and poorer in retirement, while paying increased contributions.
-Thousands of job cuts across the rail networks.
-Attacking terms, conditions, and working practices in a form of internal fire and re-hire.
-Cutting real pay for most of our members through lengthy pay freezes and below RPI inflation pay proposals.
‘We want a transport system that operates for the benefit of the people, for the needs of society and our environment – not for private profit.’
Am I eligible for a refund?
Whether or not you are entitled to a full refund will depend on how long your train has been delayed and whether it has been rescheduled or cancelled.
This applies to anyone who has bought an advanced ticket, who has a season ticket, or who has just bought a ticket on the day of travel.
How to claim a refund
Those who have purchased tickets will be able to apply for a refund through the Delay to Pay scheme if a train is delayed by more than 15 minutes.
This scheme has been set up to help customers access a partial or full refund, depending on their circumstances.
To be eligible for a refund, customers must get in touch with the train company they are travelling with and provide details of the delayed train and evidence of their ticket.
If you need to claim a refund for multiple tickets, you will need to fill out a claim for each ticket.
Each train operator has its own individual delay repay website.
To apply for a South Western Rail refund, please see here.
How much of a refund will I receive?
Refunds will depend on your ticket type and the length of time the train has been delayed.
If you have a single ticket, you can get 25 per cent of the price refunded if your train is delayed by 15 to 29 minutes.
If your train leaves you waiting for 30 to 59 minutes, you can get a refund of 50 per cent.
You are eligible for a full refund if you are left waiting longer than 60 minutes.
For those with a return ticket, the amount you get refunded is calculated by the fare of the journey that was impacted.
According to National Rail, customers can get a full refund if their journey is ‘delayed or cancelled’ and customers choose not to travel.
Season ticket holders will be able to claim back a full refund if they opt not to travel during the three days of strikes.
The one-off arrangement will see customers eligible to apply through the Delay to Pay scheme.