Latest Rail News

11.05.16

RMT accused of ‘cynical ploy’ over changed strike dates

The industrial dispute over plans to introduce driver-operated only (DOO) trains on Southern has grown more heated after a sudden change of strike date from union RMT.

Southern accused RMT of trying to deliberately maximise the disruption caused by the strikes by changing the date from 20 May to 18 May, while RMT accused Southern of attacking members’ human rights.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), Southern’s parent company, said that RMT was trying to maximise the impact of the strike by moving it from a Friday to a Wednesday, when passenger numbers are higher, with only the required minimum of seven days’ notice.

A GTR spokesperson said: “This is clearly a cynical ploy by RMT leadership to maximise the disruption their action will have on passengers. 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.”

The date change is the second from RMT, who were originally set to strike on 12 and 13 May after a first round of strikes on 26 April, which led to 700 trains being cancelled.

An attempt at talks between the two sides fell apart last week.

RMT said they had changed the date in response to a “hostile and aggressive stance” and “attacks on basic human rights” from Southern.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, repeated RMT’s previous arguments that DOO compromises passenger safety.

He said: “Southern GTR should be under no illusions, the union will not bend to their bullying and threats and we will be out there building on the huge public support we have already mobilised in a campaign that pitches the demands for increasing private profits against safety on our railways.

“The company know that they are losing the public battle and have resorted to some of the dirtiest tactics seen in an industrial struggle in Britain in many years.”

Cash added that RMT was seeking support from other unions for the strikes, saying they would “define” industrial relations this year.

GTR replied: “We totally refute the RMT’s groundless allegations.”

 (Image c. Dominic Lipinski from PA Wire)

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Comments

Neil Palmer   11/05/2016 at 19:37

A message to Mick Cash: "huge pubic support" my a**e. You need to be careful Mick, if you keep telling these lies about these strikes being about safety your nose is going to grow so long you won't be able to fit in a 20.2m long class 700 coach. Seriously, its time you joined the other dinosaurs and became extinct. The world has no need for Luddites like you.

Jason Rice   12/05/2016 at 08:23

The RMT are shooting themselves in the foot. With the current level of "sickness" Southern are experiencing they are having to cancel trains, upsetting passengers. Southern can use this whole mess to argue that they would have ran a full service had DOO been implemented.

Neil Palmer   12/05/2016 at 14:51

Maybe GTR should just tell the RMT they can accept the current offer of no job losses and no cut in pay, or they will just introduce DOO anyway and fire all the guards. If the RMT really thinks they have "huge public support" for these strikes they are even more delusional than I thought.

Tom   13/05/2016 at 17:20

I don't know, until it was stated by the RMT, that there was a basic human right to be able to close train doors. That's all that is being taken away from the conductors. Unless, of course, the issue is that would now have to walk down the train checking tickets and assisting passengers rather than using the excuse that they have got to stay near the door controls.

Jerry Alderson   19/05/2016 at 16:24

Tom wrote "would now have to walk down the train checking tickets and assisting passengers rather than using the excuse that they have got to stay near the door controls." It can certainly seem like that from my perspective. On trains where the guard controls the guards I seem to get my ticket checked less than 50% of the time. On DOO/DCO where a revenue inspector is on board my ticket is checked 90% of the time (not 100% as sometimes I alight before they get to me).

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