Southern Rail strike: RMT announces guards and drivers will take further industrial action

Members will stage 24-hour walkout from midnight Monday 10 July, the RMT union said

Ben Chapman
Thursday 22 June 2017 15:17
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Almost all of Southern Rail's major services will be disrupted, and most of them cancelled entirely
Almost all of Southern Rail's major services will be disrupted, and most of them cancelled entirely

Southern Rail passengers face yet more disruption after the Rail, Maritime and Transport union confirmed that guards and drivers will strike again in a long-running dispute over driver-only train services.

Members will stage 24-hour walkout from midnight Monday 10 July, RMT announced on Thursday.‎

The union also announced strikes affecting Merseyrail services on 8, 10 and 23 July, in a similar row over proposed reductions to the number of train guards.

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said of the Southern Rail dispute: “The franchise continues to lurch from crisis to crisis as the real impact of hacking back on safety and access hits home. We have seen absolute chaos at Victoria and East Croydon this week in the hot weather which has reinforced the need for safety critical staff on our trains and platforms. The Government cannot spin their way out of this chaotic situation which is wholly of their making.

“It is now down to Southern/GTR, and the contract holders in the minority Government, to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address our issues.”

The news came as Go Ahead Group, the majority owner of Govia, which in turn operates the Southern franchise, said in a trading update that performance levels had "stabilised".

The company said: “GTR [Govia Thameslink Rail] remains fully committed to resolving these issues to provide improved services for customers and reduce uncertainty for our stakeholders.”

Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Merseyrail’s managing director, said: "Although we brought several new initiatives to the table in the last round of talks, the RMT is unprepared to work with us to find middle ground.

"As well as guaranteeing a job to all guards who wish to stay at Merseyrail under the same terms and conditions, once the new trains arrive in 2020, we also put on the negotiating table a member of customer service staff on every train after eight o’clock at night."

The row over driver-only operation has seen repeated strikes and caused misery for commuters across Southern's busy network.

The rail operators say that drivers and guards should accept proposals for fewer guards, pointing out that many train services already run without them.

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