More misery awaits commuters using Eastbourne Railway Station as more strike action is announced by the RMT Union.
Southern conductors are to walk out for 48 hours from 00.01am Wednesday 7 September to 23.59pm Thursday 8 September.
It’s in response to Southern’s parent company, Govia Thameslink Rail rolling out driver-only trains last Sunday (21 August). The introduction of the service, which sees guards have their roles changed to on board supervisors, has caused months of rows between the company and the Union. The Union claims it will compromise passenger safety – something strongly denied by Southern.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said, “This action has been forced on us by the arrogance and inaction of the Govia Thameslink and the Government who have made it clear that they have no interest in resolving this dispute or in tackling the daily chaos on Southern. Instead they have begun the process of bulldozing through the drive towards wholesale Driver Only Operation without agreement and without any concern for the impact on safety, security and disability access.
"Our fight is with the company and the Government who have dragged this franchise into total meltdown. We share the anger and frustration of passengers and we cannot sit back while jobs and safety are compromised on these dangerously overcrowded trains.
"It is disgraceful that neither the company or the Government are prepared to engage and are looking to bully through the extension of DOO and the attack on the guards from last Sunday regardless. They should wake up and get round the table now as an urgent priority.”
Southern Passenger Service Director Alex Foulds said, “Passengers and staff will once again be appalled by the RMT’s decision to hold yet another strike. We are moving forward with our plans for the benefit of customers after nine months of fruitless attempts to reach an agreement.
“This action is unnecessary, unjustified and futile – we have guaranteed all our on board staff a job until the end of the franchise, as valued members of our future operation, with no reduction in salary.
“And claims that safety is at risk are just untrue. The independent rail safety body has said so, and nearly half our trains run without conductors already.”
Polegate’s MP Maria Caulfield has responded to the strike announcement by saying, “I am disappointed with this news, which shall only cause further misery for those already trying to make the best of a reduced rail service.”
“This is why now, more than ever before, it is crucial that the Government step in and force the two sides to work out their differences. Everyone involved in this sorry state of affairs has had enough, and the sooner they realise that fact, the better!”