Christmas travel strike dates: when will the trains and border force be striking?

The dates for the upcoming rail and border control disruptions
Christmas travel strikes dates when will the trains and border force be striking
Getty Images

The festive season is one of the busiest times of the year for the rail and airport industries, with millions of people looking to reunite with loved ones around the world. But anyone planning to go literally anywhere in and around the UK this Christmas may be faced with severe travel disruptions due to a string of industrial actions across many dates in December. Due to issues over pay and working conditions, the strikes will cause delays or cancellations in the days leading up to, and after, Christmas. The walk-outs are being held across multiple industries, including rail workers, Eurostar staff, baggage handlers and border force members. This means that not only will rail travel be affected, but air travel will be too. So, what dates will the Christmas travel strikes take place, and how might they affect your travel this Christmas?

Although there’s a chance that negotiations will end in success prior to the strike days – which would call off the industrial action completely – here is a breakdown of all the UK strike dates to help you plan ahead.

Getty Images

What are the dates for rail strikes in December 2022?

Unite and RMT Union announced industrial action in the days before and after Christmas. This will cause disruptions in train stations and journeys across the UK. This also includes Eurostar, which plays a crucial role in connecting the nation to FranceBelgium and the Netherlands.

  • On Friday 16 December and Saturday 17 December most train journeys across Britain will be disrupted or completely cancelled.
  • Unite union will be striking on Friday 23 December and Saturday 24 December, affecting East Midlands Railway only.
  • Further RMT rail strikes are planned over the days leading up to and after Christmas Day, including Boxing Day – from 18:00 on Saturday 24 December until 06:00 on Tuesday 27 December.
  • The RMT union has also announced an overtime ban starting Sunday 18 December until Monday 2nd January, resulting in possible short-notice cancellations and timetable changes. 
  • Eurostar strikes will be taking place on Friday 16 December and will continue on Sunday 18, Thursday 22 and Friday 23 December.
  • From Tuesday 13 December through to Sunday 8 January 2023, Chiltern Railways have organised further industrial action which will impact their schedule.
Getty Images

What are the dates for border force strikes in December 2022?

The Public and Commercial Service (PCS) union, which oversees border force, has announced industrial actions through the Christmas period. This also includes over 350 baggage handlers from airports across the UK. This means travellers arriving in the UK during this time may experience delays in border control and in baggage claim. 

  • There will be a 72-hour walk-out by baggage handlers at Heathrow Airport beginning Friday 16 December, affecting passengers flying Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Air Portugal, Aer Lingus, Finnair, Austrian Airlines, American Airlines, Air Canada, Qantas and Egypt Air.
  • The busiest days of the holiday season for air travel will also be hit by walk-outs – from Friday 23 December through to Monday 26 December until around 07:00. This will affect London Gatwick, Heathrow Airport, Manchester airports, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Glasgow along with Port of Newhaven.
  • PCS Union border force members will continue to strike from Wednesday 28 December to Saturday 31 December until around 07:00, with the same airports to be affected.