48 Hour Strike Underway on Southern Rail

No service on West London line through Hammersmith and Fulham

Southern Rail Strike: RMT Offers to Suspend Industrial Action
RMT members demonstrate outside the Department of Transport

A 48 hour strike on Southern Rail services by members of the RMT union has begun on Wednesday, September 7.

The walkout is due to a continuing dispute between the uion and Southern's parent company Govia Thameslink over planned changes to the role of conductors on trains. The company plans to make drivers responsible for closing doors – something that already happens on many services across the country.

The strike is causing two out of five services to be cancelled with no service on some routes, including the West London line which runs through Hammersmith and Fulham stations Shepherd's Bush, Kensington Olympia, West Brompton and Imperial Wharf.

This service runs alongside the Overground service, and 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.

During the summer, this service has been cancelled altogether but last month Southern announced that it had reinstated  a limited peak hour service between Clapham Junction and Watford Junction, with two trains running in each direction during the morning rush hour and two more in each direction during the afternoon rush hour.

See the timetable here.

A normal service was also reinstated on Saturdays and Sundays, alongside the Overground service.

Before the strike began, Govia has called for it to be cancelled and more negotiations about the issue.

Southern passenger services director, Alex Foulds, said: "Passengers will be rightly dismayed that the RMT has chosen to disrupt services yet again.

"This two-day strike will achieve nothing. After many months of trying to reach agreement with the RMT, we are now moving forward with our plans for the benefit of customers and we urge the RMT to join us in putting passengers first.

"We have guaranteed all our on-board staff a job until the end of the franchise, with no reduction in salary. Our plans are safe, and will mean fewer cancelled trains. We are sorry that our passengers will once again suffer because of RMT intransigence, and we urge the union to work with us to find a sensible way forward."

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "The Govia Thameslink franchise is in meltdown and not fit for purpose. 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."

The RMT held a ballot of members on the network which they say showed that 70% of members were in favour of strike action and 80% approved industrial action short of a strike.

‘On-board supervisors’ are due to be introduced onto the trains instead of conductors with drivers becoming responsible for the operation of the doors. The union say that a second person needs to be on the train at all times for safety reasons.

September 7, 2016