10 May 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT announces new Southern guards strike action as company steps up attacks on staff.
RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that it has switched the next strike date for action involving guards on GTR Southern as the company steps up its attacks on staff supporting the union campaign over the threat to the role of the guards and the undermining of rail safety.
The union executive has agreed to switch the strike action called for Friday 20th May and is instructing guards members to take strike action by not working any shifts that book on between 0001 and 2359 on Wednesday 18th May.
RMT has switched the date of the action in response to the threatening and abusive stance the company is adopting towards union members using their basic human right to strike in defence of rail safety. Those threats include setting a deadline of the 20th May for staff to sign up to the company plans regardless of the impact on jobs, working conditions and safety.
A fresh wave of campaigning, targeted at building on public support for RMT’s fight with Southern over the future of safe staffing levels and safe train operation, is stepping up a gear as the union moves the dispute forwards.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash said:
“The union has once again reassessed the tactics of the dispute and, recognising the hostile and aggressive stance taken by the company as we fight for the basic principles of rail safety, RMT’s executive has decided to switch the next phase of action to the 18th May two days before Southern’s outrageous ultimatum to staff.
“Southern GTR should be under no illusions, the union will not bend to their bullying and threats and we will be out there building on the huge public support we have already mobilised in a campaign that pitches the demands for increasing private profits against safety on our railways. The company know that they are losing the public battle and have resorted to some of the dirtiest tactics seen in an industrial struggle in Britain in many years. They will not get away with those attacks on basic human rights.
“Southern GTR fleeces its passengers for a fortune in fares for unreliable and overcrowded services and RMT will not allow safety to be the next thing sacrificed in the dash for fatter and fatter profits on this rail franchise. RMT is now looking to build support from across the trade union movement for this important fight which defines the nature of industrial relations in Britain in 2016. ”