3 November 2016
RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed a schedule of additional industrial action by Southern Rail Guards in the wake of the company’s continued refusal to give a guarantee that a second, safety-critical member of staff will be retained on all services which currently have a guard on board.
As a result of this blatant disregard for the safety and security of passengers and staff alike RMT has had no alternative but to declare the following action:
Our members are to take strike action by not booking on for any shifts between:
00.01 on Thursday 22nd December and 23.59 on Saturday 24th December
00.01 on Saturday 31st December 2016 and 23.59 on Monday 2nd January 2017
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“Yet again the sheer pig-headedness of the company and the Government means that our members are being forced to take further industrial action in a bid to maintain a safe and secure service on Southern Rail.
“Govia Thameslink and the Government have made it clear that they have no interest in resolving this dispute. RMT has called repeatedly for the Transport Secretary Chris Graying to get out of his bunker, get hold of the company and get round the negotiating table. He continues to ignore us. If Government ministers can meet with our colleagues from the Prison Officers Association over safety in prisons then there is no reason whatsoever why they can’t meet with RMT over safety on our railways.
“This week we have seen repeated chaos on Southern Rail services that has shown once again that they are simply incapable of running safe and reliable services. The only obstacle to their removal from their management contract is the Government who are calling the shots and pulling the strings behind the scenes while publicly claiming the dispute is between RMT and GTR. It is total nonsense but is a tactic which is deliberately blocking any chance of progress. That blockage has to be cleared as matter of urgency.
"In the light of the continuing public anger at the absolute state of the Southern Rail operation it is disgraceful that neither the company or the Government are prepared to engage and are continuing to attempt to impose DOO in the interests of putting profit before safety. We call on them to get round the negotiating table rather than jamming their heads in the sand."