More strike action is to hit Eastbourne.
The RMT Union has today (22 June) confirmed guards and drivers on Southern Rail will walk out for 24 hours on Monday 10 July in the ongoing dispute over the future of conductors on trains.
The union remains firm in its believe that removing conductors in favour of driver-only trains will put passenger safety at risk, whereas Southern say they are modernising the system.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said, “RMT members on Southern Rail have been fighting for safety and access for well over a year now.
“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.”
Southern say they have now put forward four offers to the RMT to end the dispute, which have been rejected. The rail company also says its latest offer tabled to the union has not been answered, with the offer including guarantees on job security, guarantees on staffing ratios, guarantees on rostering of on-board supervisors and enhanced training for new and existing staff and existing staff.
Responding to the strike announcement a Southern spokesperson said, “Once again the RMT is refusing to play its part in the modernisation of the railway. Southern is the most congested network in the UK with passenger numbers into London doubling in just 12 years, so modernisation of infrastructure, trains and working practices is essential to provide the service levels passengers need and deserve.
“While we have been willing to negotiate and have made four comprehensive offers, the RMT has not demonstrated any serious intent to resolve its dispute. It has not put any of our four offers to its members, including our latest of 16 May, to which we’ve had no formal response. This offered guarantees on job security, staffing ratios, rostering and enhanced training.”
The spokesperson added, “The RMT is relying on an outdated 14-month-old ballot for this action. There have been very significant changes in the situation so it no longer provides a mandate for strike action. We can only speculate about the true reasons for the RMT’s actions and its desire to continue making passengers suffer.”