New Strike Threat for Southern Railways

RMT ballot station staff over further industrial action

The RMT have announced that they are to hold a ballot of station staff for industrial action across the Govia Thameslink Railways which includes the Southern Railway network.

The vote will be over jobs, pay and safety as well as ticket office closures. There is no indication at this stage when industrial action will be taken but it will affect local stations including Wandsworth Common, Kensington Olympia, West Brompton and Shepherd’s Bush.

The union are also objecting to the creation of ‘Station Hosts’ who will operate across the network should ticket offices close. They claim that staff will be forced onto flexible working with an increased workload without the prospect of reasonable compensation.

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.”

New rail minister Paul Maynard has offered to host talks between Southern and the RMT union to try to end their dispute saying the current level of service was ‘unacceptable’.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote to the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, earlier this month urging him to allow Transport for London to take over the Southern franchise. He said, “There is no doubt that the franchise must now be in default, and I have previously called for your department to step in and take control . I now offer to go one step further and put my senior TfL team in charge of the Southern franchise until we get a permanent resolution,”

Ballot papers will go out on Tuesday 2nd August and the ballot will close on Tuesday 16th August. Well over a thousand staff will be balloted on both strike action and action short of a strike.

July 27, 2016

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New Strike Threat for Southern Railways

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