Latest Rail News

11.10.16

Three-day Southern strike begins as GTR boss insists ‘dispute has ended’

Rail guards on Southern walked out at midnight last night as last-minute efforts to prevent a strike failed.

The three-day strike action is the first in a 14 day programme by the RMT union in protest at the introduction of driver-only operated (DOO) services.

Last night, Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) said it was considering legal action to stop the strike after reports that the RMT had instructed members to accept the changes and volunteer for the new on-board supervisor roles.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Charles Horton, chief executive of GTR, said: “I can’t tell you when the RMT are going to stop striking. They should stop striking now. The reasons for the dispute have ended.”

Southern said that because of the strikes, it will be forced to cancel trains on some lines and run a reduced service on others.

Trains between Three Bridges and Haywards Heath are also delayed by up to 30 minutes after a Network Rail engineering train on the line developed a fault and couldn’t be moved, meaning services couldn’t run until 7.30am.

GTR has suffered unprecedented performance problems this year, with its PPM falling below any other company for four months.

Paul Maynard, the rail minister, said: “It is disappointing that passengers once again face needless and unjustified strike action by the RMT, after the union advised its members to accept the new roles being offered by the operator.

“The union leaders have continually rejected a deal that protects jobs and ensures that conductors will carry on delivering safe, accessible and more reliable rail services. I call on RMT to put passengers first and stop this damaging action.”

RMT’s general secretary Mick Cash said that the strike action is “rock solid and determined again this morning across the Southern Rail network as we fight to put rail safety and access before the profits of the failed Govia Thameslink operation”.

“Once again this morning Southern have been peddling the lie that this dispute is about who opens and closes the doors when, in fact, it's about the retention of a guaranteed, second safety-critical member of staff, with the full range of safety competencies, on all current services,” he added. “Despite all the spin and bluster the company refuse to give that guarantee.”

For more details about the impact of the strikes on Southern services, click here.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.

 

Comments

Gabriel Oaks   11/10/2016 at 14:27

This dispute should never have started...... DOO trains have been operating for decades in the UK including GTR's Thameslink and Metro services.

Steve B Collins   14/10/2016 at 14:43

Gabriel Oaks is correct ("This dispute should never have started. DOO trains have been operating for decades in the UK including GTR's Thameslink and Metro services.") The RMT have a weak position but GTR has played this very badly. The benefits for passengers over the change could be HUGE. Safety is a theoretical concept. Everything is safe until an accident happens. When it does you have to look at a) severity, b) frequency and c) probability. The number of incidents over the platform-train interface is very small versus the total number of crossings and let's be honest about it: 99.9% of incidents will be trip hazards not door incidents. The RMT is doing a disservice to passengers - the people who pay its members - on every single train without exception. Where the guard/conductor operates the doors the train journey will be slower or less punctual than if the driver operated them. Where the guard/conductor operates the doors less time will be spent serving passengers than if the driver operated them. So, the RMT's stance is to make the journey worse on 100% of trains supposedly to improve safety by reducing the one in a billion (sic) incidents.

Add your comment

 

related

Rail industry Focus

View all News

Comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to in... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

Interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >