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TSSA balloting staff over Southern office closures

TSSA is balloting its members over whether to join other unions in striking to protest Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR’s) plans to close ticket offices.

TSSA announced on Friday that it is balloting over 250 ticket office and platform staff over GTR’s proposed closure of 83 ticket offices, with the results of the vote due to be announced on 2 September.

Last week, RMT announced that its members have voted 70% in favour of strike action.

If it goes ahead, the strike will add to the misery on Southern, owned by GTR, which has seen 341 services a day cancelled in a bid to limit unpredictable delays.

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA, said Southern is in danger of becoming “a second class operation which is not fit for passengers and staff”.

He called on the new transport secretary, Chris Grayling, to implement London mayor Sadiq Khan’s proposal of allowing Transport for London (TfL) to take over the franchise.

Cortes has previously warned that passengers “may have to suffer short-term pain to see a long-term gain” in achieving the TfL takeover.

Britain’s railways are facing widespread strikes at the moment. RMT and GTR have failed to reach a resolution in a bitter dispute about the introduction of driver-operated only (DOO) services on Southern.

RMT and TSSA are also holding a series of strikes on Eurostar, with the next ones due over the Bank Holiday weekend.

RMT proposed holding three days of strikes on Virgin East Coast services, although these were later suspended.

(Image c. Andrew Matthews)

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Iain Kernaghan   23/08/2016 at 17:18

Short term pain before tfl take over. Reduced services since 2011, cancellations due to staff shortages since 2014, a reduced version of the reduced timetable and they still can't resource those trains so more cancellations. They have the cheek to increase fares when a third of the timetable is not operated. The relations with staff are clearly similar to the relations with passengers. The people at the top have to go if there is going to be any change.

GW   23/08/2016 at 21:38

Let's not forget that closing Ticket Offices is a DfT policy NOT one supported by the travelling public who, once again, are bottom of the list for service.

H. Trevor Jones   23/08/2016 at 23:36

At main stations it's nice to have both a proper staffed booking office and staff on platforms, but at small stations that only justify 1 member of staff on duty it makes more sense to me to have that staff member on the platform with his mobile ticket machine and mobile phone or tablet or whatever, readily and quickly available for all enquiries as well as with an overview of what is going on, rather than have that staff member tucked away out of sight (to see others or be seen) in a booking office. If it is a security issue having 1 staff member on his own out in the open, then either have 2 or have 0 according to value for money. H. Trevor Jones, Guildford.

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