More Strike Action Possible In Eastbourne

Saturday 30th April 2016

 

More strike action could hit Eastourne Railway Station.

Southern are looking at changing the way ticket offices are run, to make staff more visible on the platform concourse.

At both Eastbourne and Polegate stations, which still rely heavily on the ticket office for sales, they have proposed the following changes:

  • To relocate the ticket selling equipment to a station hosting point so the staff are available on the concourse for most of the day and at weekends, in excess of current ticket office hours.
  • To staff the ticket office window at peak times to manage the demand.
  • To move people out onto the concourse as ‘Station Hosts’ and apply to close the ticket office at off-peak times but have it open and staffed at peak times.

Station Hosts will be:

  • visible and available from first service until the last, which is longer than current ticket hours in many cases
  • trained in customer service
  • able to sell tickets and provide information using a new handheld device
  • helping passengers use the ticket machines

 

However, the RMT Union has confirmed it plans to ballot members over the proposals, which could lead to more industrial action.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
 
“Both London Travel Watch and Transport Focus have knocked back the ticket office closure plans on GTR after RMT mobilised a huge public campaign of opposition. It now appears that not only are GTR planning to ignore that massive opposition to their cuts but the consultation itself was fundamentally flawed and omitted a central aspect on the location of ticket machines that has severe consequences for our members.
 
“RMT is totally opposed to the closure or reduction in opening hours of ticket offices, cuts in station staff jobs and the introduction of lone working at stations and the union will continue our fight against these attacks on our member’s jobs, safety and living standards. Therefore, the union will begin preparations for a ballot of all our Southern GTR station staff members for industrial action.
 
“The union remains available for talks.”

 

A Southern spokesperson said:

“Our station changes will bring staff from ticket offices onto concourses and platforms where they will still sell tickets as well as being more available to passengers. Far from being a reduction of service, ticket sales will be available for more time than they are today. There will be no compulsory job losses nor cut in pay. Neither RMT nor TSSA have formally notified us of their intention to ballot and we continue to discuss our proposals with both.”

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