Commuters in Eastbourne are bracing themselves for further cuts to train services from next week.
Southern are axing 341 services a day under their reduced, temporary timetable.
Passengers have been suffering for months, owing to an ongoing dispute between the company and members of the RMT Union, who don’t want to see conductors removed from trains to make way for the driver-only service, which is due to come into force next month (21 August).
The RMT Union’s General Secretary, Mick Cash, has written an open letter to the Chief Executive of Govia Thameslink Rail, the parent company of Southern, calling for a three-month truce, to try and come to an agreement.
In the letter, Mr Cash offers that, “The RMT will suspend calling any further industrial for the next three months if you will also suspend your proposals for a similar period.
"This will then allow us the time and space to sit down together and try and explore options that will seek to deliver the lasting improvements to service and reliability we all want.
"I do hope that you can respond positively to these proposals and I look forward to hearing from you."
However, it seems there will be no three-month truce. Southern have responded to the offer with the following statement, “We welcome the offer of talks and a new approach from the RMT. We have been trying to actively engage them for the past six months. We welcome the suggested suspension of industrial action, but we don't need three months to resolve this. We are ready to sit down with the RMT and discuss a way forward that we believe that they, our employees and customers will welcome, and can bring an end to this dispute.
“In the meantime we would ask the RMT to work with us, as previously requested, to address the main cause of the current service problems, which is the remarkably high levels of sickness amongst some RMT members.”
The situation on the trains will return before the Transport Select Committee again on Monday (11 July), as MPs and passengers continue to call for an immediate solution to the ongoing delays and cancellations on trains across the Southern network, a situation that the company says is hampered by sickness levels by train crew and the RMT Union say is fuelled by poor management by Southern.