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RMT refuses to rule out more industrial action as Southern boss labels strikes as ‘pointless’

RMT refuses to rule out more industrial action as Southern boss labels strikes as ‘pointless’
Mar 14, 2017 Shaking Hands 0 comments
This post was first published by The Croydon Advertiser on 14/03/2017

RMT refuses to rule out more industrial action as Southern boss labels strikes as ‘pointless’

Commuters at East Croydon could suffer more industrial action

The RMT Union has refused to rule out further strike action in its ongoing bitter row with train operating company Southern Rail.

Southern says that it ran just over 90 per cent of its train services during Monday’s strike action by the union – who represent Southern’s train guards as well as 12 drivers.

The train operator, which is owned by Govia Thameslink Railway, says the amount of trains that ran on the latest strike day was an 87 per cent increase on the services it ran on the last strike day on February 22.

Monday’s strike action was the 31st time the union has staged a walk-out in a long-running dispute over changes, which were announced by Southern last spring, to adapt the role of a conductor into an “on-board supervisor”.

Despite the strike action, Southern said in a statement that “over half of Southern’s on-board supervisors reported for work”.

Angie Doll, who is the passenger services director for Southern Rail, added: “We’re pleased we were able to provide a comprehensive train service for our passengers during the RMT strike.

“The unions should now recognise that continuing with their industrial action is unnecessary and pointless.”

The RMT has said all along that the job changes will jeopordise the safety of passengers and it has also expressed fears the move would make the role of a conductor or train guard redundant in the future.

Southern Rail passengers have endured 31 days of strike action from the RMT since last AprilThat change came into force at the start of the year and the RMT has insisted the central issue to the strike action is safety.

In a response to Ms Doll’s comments, a spokesman for the RMT Union hit back.

He said: “Nobody believes a word that comes out of Southern Rail as they appear to live in a parallel universe whereas back in reality they are running the worst rail service in Britain while hoovering up fare-payers’ money by the shed load.

“RMT’s action remains rock solid and disruption was significant as Southern themselves reported on their Twitter feed.

“The union executive will discuss the next steps in the dispute in due course.”

It has been an industrial dispute which has dogged Southern Rail for almost 12 months.

Statistics obtained by the Advertiser last month revealed that in 2016 an astonishing 58,983 Southern trains were cancelled.

The data showed fewer cancellations happened on strike days than on days where there was no strike action.

This is because Southern is forced to adapt a timetable to each strike day to run as many trains as possible.