Eastbourne Threatened With More Strike Action

Wednesday 27th July 2016

eastbourne buzz news - Eastbourne Railway Station

Plans to modernise Eastbourne and Polegate Railway Stations could see more strike action hit commuters.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) want to change the way ticket offices are manned and bring staff out on to the concourse, under their new title, Station Hosts. GTR say this will result in tickets being sold for much longer periods, direct to passengers.

The company says the proposals will mean that:

  • All affected staff will receive an uplift in salary or an additional allowance, and the working week will be reduced from 39 hours to 35 hours for some
  • There is a job for everyone – no compulsory redundancies
  • Assurances have been given that safeguard staff security
  • All modernised stations will be staffed from the very first train the very last, seven days a week – in total an extra 2,600 hours per week
  • Station facilities, like waiting rooms and toilets, will be open for longer
  • The stations will continue to sell the full range of tickets currently on sale at ticket offices
  • GTR will introduce Oyster ‘pay as you go’ style smartcard ticketing across the network which can be topped up at home and guarantees the cheapest walk-up fare for the day
  • Queuing standards will be maintained
  • GTR is talking with disability user groups to ensure its plans not only meet but improve the station experience for people with disabilities

However, the RMT Union says it will now start balloting its members as to whether they take strike action over the proposals, which they say threaten jobs, pay and safety, claiming 130 jobs are under threat across the country.

83 stations managed by GTR are facing the changes. Passenger Service Director at GTR Keith Jipps said, “The RMT’s threat of further industrial action is entirely unwarranted and clearly another bid by the union to disrupt passengers and GTR across as many parts of our franchise as possible.

“We have listened to passengers and modified our proposals, addressing the concerns of both London TravelWatch and Transport Focus.

“Our new Station Hosts will be paid more, be able to work in safety and provide passengers with better customer service, but the RMT is not concerned with improving the experience for passengers and are dismissing significant improvements to the terms and conditions for staff.”

The RMT will ballot its members on 2 August, with it closing on 16 August. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said, “The basket-case Govia Thamelink franchise are at it again. Not content with axing catering services, closing ticket offices and attacking the role of their guards they now want to threaten 130 station jobs and compromise the safety of both their passengers and staff alike.

“These plans fly in the face of the response from the thousands of passengers who objected to the closure of ticket offices and the de-staffing of stations as Govia drives on with plans for a “faceless railway” where the public are left to fend for themselves on rammed-out, dangerous and unreliable services.

“The union remains available for serious and meaningful talks but we will not sit back while Britain’s worst rail franchise moves to the next act in its on-going production “Carry On Carnage.” The company chiefs, and their cheerleaders in Government, need to start listening to what their workforce are saying and they need to start respecting the views of those at the sharp-end.”

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