Eastbourne is to endure a 30th day of strike action on the Southern network.
The RMT Union has today (28 February) confirmed both its guards and drivers are to walk out for 24 hours on Monday 13 March in the ongoing dispute over the driver-only operations. The union stands firm that removing guards from services will compromise passenger safety.
The RMT says it offered to talk to Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Rail, but claim the offer was snubbed,
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said, “The abject failure by Southern Rail to meet with us, to clarify their exact position on the second safety-critical member of staff and to take the safety issues seriously has left us with no option but to confirm further action. These disputes could have been settled if Southern/GTR had sat down and listened to our case and given the guarantee of a second-safety critical member of staff on their trains.
“We now have the best part of two weeks before the next phase of action for the company to take the issues at the core of this dispute seriously, get round the table with the union and negotiate a settlement.
“It is now down to Southern/GTR to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address the fundamental issue of rail safety on their services. RMT expects the company to take up that offer from the union as a matter of urgency.”
Responding to the action, a Southern spokesperson said, “This will be the 30th day of RMT strike action for Southern passengers and today’s news is clearly disappointing. We asked the RMT executive to suspend any further action when they met today so that talks could take place, instead they have chosen to put their members through even more pointless industrial action. They say they want to talk, but they are hell-bent on further strike misery and causing disruption and hardship to people’s everyday work and family lives. We were able to run almost 90% (87%) of services on the last RMT strike day and we will again have contingency plans in place to be able to run as full a service for the travelling public on the day.”