RMT Calls More Strike Action As Southern Plan To Push Ahead With DOO Trains

Tuesday 14th June 2016

eastbourne buzz news - Eastbourne Railway Station

Even more delays could hit commuters at Eastbourne Railway Station later this month.

Southern have today (14 June) announced that the RMT Union have informed them of further strike action by its members.

Conductors plan to walk out on Tuesday 21 June.

This comes a day after the two sides, which are locked in a dispute in driver-only trains, met with ACAS to try and settle the matter.

Govia Thameslink Rail has now confirmed its plans to implement its new on-board role, which it says will protect all jobs and benefit passengers across the Southern network, commencing 21 August.

They say the new role of On-Board Supervisor protects all of their Conductors’ jobs, keeping them on trains, and re-focusing their tasks in favour of face-to-face customer service to passengers. The company says that on modern trains, the responsibility for closing train doors will move from the Conductor to the driver as they already do on 3,200 trains a day on 60% of the entire GTR network. However, the RMT Union says this set up will have a negative impact on passenger safety.

The debate has been rolling on for six months and GTR claim the RMT failed to make any practical proposals at yesterday's meeting with ACAS. GTR reported that the Union tabled a seven-point plan based on retaining the Conductor role as-is, but suggesting changes to the Revenue Protection Officer (RPO) role and potential changes to several RPO depots. GTR has said it is not prepared to favour one group of employees over any other.

GTR now say that any new strike action is just going to cause more misery to passengers and is completely unnecessary. GTR say they will continue to engage directly with employees and work together to improve the experience for passengers using GTR trains.

Commenting on the confirmation of the plan to implement the new role, Chief Operating Officer Dyan Crowther said, “Despite six months of talks, the RMT gave us no practical plan to implement the new role at ACAS – instead we have this announcement of a totally unnecessary strike. We now have no option but to confirm the implementation of the new role.

“This new on-board role will keep people on trains, and re-focus their roles on assisting passengers. No-one is losing their job, and as many services will have someone on board as they do today.

“We know that many passengers are experiencing a poor service at the moment, that’s why we need to bring in these changes as quickly as possible.”

The RMT Union are yet to issue a response to their decision to take strike action.

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