MASS strikes are set to cripple the rail network with further walk-outs planned in weeks to come.

Greater Anglia is just one of 13 rail services disrupted with 40,000 members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT Union) taking industrial action.

When will the strikes take place?

The strikes will take place tomorrow, Thursday and Saturday with union members warning future strikes could take place if demands of a pay rise, job security, and an end to compulsory redundancies are not met.

Although only three days of strikes have been voted for, the affects will be felt all week – even on non-strike days.

Signallers and controllers will not be working overnight, and trains are likely to be at the wrong stations on the days following each walk-out.

It means services are likely to face disruption on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday despite rail companies expecting to be partly staffed on those days.

What will the impact be?

Greater Anglia has warned of severe disruption, with the train from Colchester to London Liverpool Street one of the few trains running.

Services will only operate from 7.30am through until 7.30pm, and although travel by train during days when strikes are taking place is still possible, it is discouraged unless absolutely necessary.

No services will operate during the days of the strikes from smaller stations near Colchester including Marks Tey, Braintree, Witham, Harwich, Manningtree, and Clacton.

Colchester Town Station will also be majorly affected with no trains operating from the station tomorrow, Thursday or Sunday.

Will any trains still operate from Colchester?

Trains from Colchester North Station will still operate, but on a vastly reduced schedule.

Two trains will operate eachhour between 7.30am and 7.30pm on days when industrial action is taking place, but passengers have been warned to expect disruption.

What are the unions' demands?

Unions which have called the strike are demanding a seven per cent increase in pay, the removal of redundancy threats, and the maintaining of a 35-hour working week.

Was there an appetite among staff to strike?

With 89 per cent of the RMT Union voting in favour of the walk-out, the desire to strike was widespread.

It is also believed to be the biggest the British rail industry has experienced since Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.

The only train services in England to be unaffected by the strikes will be the Isle of Wight’s Island Line.

Keeping rail services running during the Covid-19 pandemic is believed to have cost the Government between £12 billion and £16 billion and rail bosses are now under Government pressure to slash costs.

The Government wants to reform the industry by creating Great British Railways to manage rail infrastructure, but RMT Union boss Mike Lynch said stagnant wages in the face of the cost of living crisis has forced workers into action.

He said: “I think there are going to be many unions balloting across the country, because people can’t take it anymore.

“We have got people who doing full time jobs who are having to take state benefits and use food banks – that is a national disgrace.”

“We want a settlement to this dispute, but we’re facing a crisis for our members – we’re faced with thousands of job cuts.

“We’ve seen 4,000 or 5,000 already go from the railway [and] they’ve told our maintenance staff on Network Rail that 3,000 jobs will go.”

What does the Government say?

With a larger portion of the population now working from home, the knock-on effect has been a reduction in the number of people travelling by train – ticket sales have since dropped by 25 per cent.

But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has argued the strike puts the future of the rail industry at risk, and that the reforms being proposed are designed to modernise the train system.

“Of course, it is a reality that if we can’t get these railways modernised, if we can’t get the kind of efficiency that will mean that they can work on behalf of the travelling public, then of course it is jeopardising the future of the railway itself.”

“I think it is a huge act of self-harm to go on strike at the moment.

“I don’t believe the workers are anywhere near as militant as their unions who are leading them up the garden path – they are gunning for this strike.

“It is completely unnecessary.”

Greater Anglia's warning

The managing director of Greater Anglia, Jamie Burles, said anyone who does travel on trains this week should expect disruption.

He said: “Please only travel if it’s absolutely necessary on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday when strikes are due to take place.

“If you do travel, you should expect severe disruption, so plan ahead and make alternative arrangements to travel if you can.

“Please also check travel times for any journeys planned for the days before and after any strike action.”

Will other sectors see workers go out on strike?

Rail strikes are not the only form of disruption Britons are experiencing this summer.

Heathrow cancelled ten per cent of its flights yesterday, whilst easyJet also announced a slew of cancellations to its summer schedule – more than 10,000 flights will have been cancelled from March through until September as a result.

Other sectors are also expecting industrial action this year.

In a row over legal aid funding, barristers have also voted to go on strike, with several days of court walkouts expected next week.

The National Education Union will also ballot its members in the coming weeks to gauge the appetite for a round of strikes, with the union demanding a pay increase to match rising inflation.

Could we see more rail strikes later this summer?

With Network Rail staff being balloted by the the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA), there could be more strike action taking place next month on Monday, July 25.