Southern Rail Conductors Bring Strike Forward

Walkout will now take place on May 18

A planned 24-hour strike by Southern rail conductors has been brought forward to Wednesday May 18.

The strike was due to take place on Friday May 20 but will now take place earlier after the RMT union said the date change was in response to the "threatening and abusive stance" the company was adopting towards union members.

The union, which also went on strike on April 26, opposes a new on-board supervisor role and plans for drivers to operate doors.

Services affected by this industrial action include Southern's trains running between Clapham Junction and Milton Keynes, taking in Imperial Wharf, West Brompton, Olympia and Shepherd's Bush, alongside the London Overground service.

The service normally runs three or four trains during rush hours and one per hour at other times and continues from Shepherd's Bush to Wembley Central, Harrow and Wealdstone then on to Watford Junction and Milton Keynes Central.

Its Sutton to London Bridge service, through Mitcham Junction, will not be affected - but will be busier than normal. However, the St Helier loop through Wimbledon Chase will have no Southern service.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "The union has once again reassessed the tactics of the dispute and, recognising the hostile and aggressive stance taken by the company as we fight for the basic principles of rail safety, RMT's executive has decided to switch the next phase of action."

He said staff had been given until 20 May to sign up to the company plans "regardless of the impact on jobs, working conditions and safety".

He added: "Southern GTR should be under no illusions, the union will not bend to their bullying and threats."

But a Govia Thameslink spokesman said: "This action is completely unnecessary - there's a job for everyone who wants one and no-one will have a cut in salary. The only difference is that conductors will no longer close a train's doors.

"We totally refute the RMT's groundless allegations. The refusal of the RMT union to negotiate has left us with no option but to press on with our plans to evolve the role of the conductor on many of our services."

May 11, 2016

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