Latest Rail News

27.07.16

GTR threatened with station staff strikes over ticket office closures

The beleaguered Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchise is facing the possibility of further strikes as RMT ballots station staff over planned ticket office closures.

RMT has already led conductor strikes on Southern, owned by GTR. The ongoing industrial dispute, in which both sides have failed to reach a resolution, has contributed to widespread delays, forcing Southern to cancel 341 services a day.

Southern is also the lowest-ranked company in the UK for passenger satisfaction, whilst GTR had the lowest performance and punctuality measure in the latest figures.

RMT has now opened a ballot, which will run until 16 August, over plans to close ticket offices at 83 stations.

Ticket office staff will be given the new role of station host, which will require them to assist passengers, operate the gateline and help with maintenance and cleaning as well as selling tickets.

RMT claims that the closures will lead to the loss of 130 jobs, that GTR had not offered a pay increase for the remaining staff and that the changes could make their working conditions more dangerous.

But GTR has refuted the allegations saying instead that affected staff would receive an uplift in salary or an increased allowance, there would be no compulsory redundancies, and it would safeguard staff safety.

The union said it was not clear where staff would be offered new jobs in places such as the Southern metro area where all ticket offices will close, and there is no guarantee that jobs will not be lost in the future.

Keith Jipps, passenger services director at GTR, 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.”

(Image c. Andrew Matthews)

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