There will be no trains running in or out of Eastbourne today (10 January), as strike action by drivers brings the Southern network to a standstill.
Members of ASLEF are taking industrial action in the long-running dispute with Southern over the introduction of driver-only trains. The union believes this will be detrimental to passenger safety, as there will no longer be a conductor on board who is safety critical trained. Instead, there will be on board supervisors, who will be safety trained, but not safety critical. However, Southern say they have guaranteed a second person on the trains where there is one already, but say the trains will be able to run even in the event of sickness or staff absences, which would currently see trains cancelled. Southern also believe the move is safe and say they have the backing of a report published last week by the Office for Road and Rail – which has been disputed by the union, the RMT union and Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce has also raised an eyebrow at the report’s findings.
ASLEF members are walking out for three days this week, with today, tomorrow and Friday being affected. Southern are urging commuters not to travel unless they really have to and will have replacement bus services in place between Eastbourne and Hastings to allow passengers to access alternative services. Brighton and Hove Buses will be accepting Southern tickets and Stagecoach say they will be laying on extra services throughout the strike action.
Last week, the RMT Union accepted an offer to meet with the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, a date for which, is still to be set.