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GTR considering legal action to halt Southern strike

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is considering a legal challenge to stop another Southern conductors’ strike tomorrow.

RMT, which is leading the strikes in protest at plans to extend driver-only operated (DOO) services, said it had received a formal legal challenge from GTR, Southern’s parent company.

Talks between GTR and RMT last week failed to head off the strikes after the union rejected an offer, including a £2,000 bonus for conductors.

At the weekend, the Sunday Times reported that Mick Cash, the RMT’s general secretary, had written to union members advising them to accept the new contract and volunteer for the on-board supervisor role, which Southern is introducing to replace conductors.

A Southern spokesperson said: “On Friday the RMT told their conductor members to accept a deal, and then tomorrow they plan to strike against it. It is a situation which will leave our passengers baffled. We have written to the RMT about the validity of their dispute in light of recent developments. We await their response and will consider all possible options to stop the strike and that includes a legal challenge.”

Cash said: “It is appalling that rather than sitting down with us at Acas today to seek a resolution the company have chosen to run to the courts under the cloak of the anti-union laws. The union intends to continue with the planned action and is examining the details of the paperwork.”

RMT has planned 14 days of strikes over the next three months, with action due on 18-20 October, 3-5 and 22-23 November, and 6-8 December.

The strikes have contributed to unprecedented problems on GTR’s network, which saw it fall to the bottom of the table for performance and punctuality measure (PPM) for four months, and cancel 341 services a day.

Southern has insisted the new DOO services will not result in a loss of jobs and are safe, which was confirmed by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB).

However, RMT also revealed a leaked memo sent to the RSSB non-executive directors, including Charles Horton, the CEO of GTR, which does not mention safety and states: “Adopting a strategy of guard redundancies delivers the greatest economic benefit.”

A spokesperson for the RSSB said: “While Charles Horton is a non-executive director, he had no input into the report. We were asked to provide information; we are not advocating a position. This research is all on the website.”

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Lutz   10/10/2016 at 17:47

Just do, and seek compensation for the passengers while you are at it.

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