Khan calls for end to Southern strikes as GTR launches court appeal
London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for unions to call off strike action on the troubled Southern network.
Elsewhere, operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) confirmed that it will appeal against a legal ruling to try to stop the strike.
Aslef is due to lead a drivers’ strike from 13 to 16 December, followed by a five-day strike in January. RMT will also hold guards’ strikes on 19-20 December and 31 December-2 January.
But Khan said: “The ongoing chaos on Southern rail services is a total disgrace that is badly failing commuters who just want to get to work and back.”
He called on the unions to “cancel the strikes and get back around the negotiating table”, but also criticised government ministers for “washing their hands” of the crisis.
The mayor also pointed out that Transport for London (TfL) had been able to successfully achieve an agreement with RMT to call off planned London Underground strikes.
Meanwhile, GTR, Southern’s parent company, announced that it has lodged an urgent application at the Court of Appeal after the High Court ruled against its application for an injunction to prevent tomorrow’s strikes by Aslef, as well as an indefinite overtime ban which is currently in place.
Charles Horton, chief executive of GTR, said: “This industrial action is having a severe and significant impact on our ability to run our train services and causing massive disruption to the 500,000 passengers who travel with us every day.
“We were granted permission yesterday by the judge to make an urgent appeal and we have a duty to our passengers to do all we can to prevent the wholly unjustified industrial action continuing. Our passengers have suffered months of travel misery and we call again on the unions to call off their action and work with us to find a resolution to their dispute.”
Khan also repeated his calls for the government to devolve Southern, Southeastern and South West services to TfL, after transport secretary Chris Grayling halted devolution plans last week.
However, it emerged in a leaked letter last week that Grayling had been opposed to handing over London rail services to “any future Labour mayor” in his position as an MP in 2013, leading to allegations that his opposition to the devolution plans was politically motivated.
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