Hours after telling Eastbourne’s MP that they wanted to get back around the negotiating table and the RMT has announced further strike action on Southern.
Guards will now join members of the drivers’ union, ASLEF in walking out for 24 hours on Tuesday 1 August, in the on-going dispute over the future of conductors on the trains.
They say they want the guarantee of a second safety-critical member of staff on Southern services and say both the Government and GTR have failed to make any moves to resolve the issue.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said, “Neither Chris Grayling and his Government, nor his contractors GTR, have lifted a finger to resolve this long running dispute despite approaches from the union and so yet again today RMT is forced to take action and send Southern Rail a clear message that we will not allow them to strip the railway of a safety critical second member of staff on these vital rail services.
“In the past week, we have seen the Government propping up the failed Southern Rail operation as they collude with the company to undermine the fundamental principles of safety and access. The Government are up their eyeballs in the Southern Rail scandal and have given the company a free run at smashing up the safety and access regime out of pure ideology.
“RMT pays tribute to our Southern Rail guards and drivers who have stood firm for well over a year in the fight for rail safety despite outrageous abuse and intimidation from the company. They are a credit to their communities and to the whole trade union movement.
“RMT has a clear plan for resolving this dispute but that requires talks and it requires talks now. This fiasco cannot be allowed to drag on any longer.”
Speaking to Eastbourne Buzz yesterday (18 July), both the RMT and ASLEF union General Secretaries said the industrial action would continue for as long as their members feel it necessary.
A spokesperson for Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Southern, said, "This is very disappointing, although an RMT strike will have no impact whatsoever over and above the action already being taken by ASLEF drivers. The network needs to be modernised for the sake of passengers and the unions should play their part."