25 August 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT announces strike action by station staff across Govia Thameslink Railways.
RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed 24 hours of strike action by station staff members on Govia Thameslink Railways over a threat to jobs, pay and safety from the impact of ticket office closures and the reorganisation of the workforce.
Members will not book on for shifts between 00.01 hours to 23.59 hours on Wednesday 7th September.
The announcement of the strike follows confirmation of a 70% vote for strike action in a ballot of members which concluded last week.
GTR’s proposed reorganisation of station staff would see the creation of the new position of “Station Host”.
The impact of the Govia proposals cannot be underestimated. GTR want to close ticket offices, or cut them to morning peak only, at 83 stations from as far afield as Kings Lynn and Bognor Regis. As a means of doing this they plan to introduce a new multi-functional role of Station Host which RMT estimates will result in a cut of at least 130 jobs.
This is just the first phase of the company’s plan. Dispatchers and barrier staff will also be affected by the company’s cost cutting measures in the near future.
RMT is totally opposed to ticket office closures, and cuts in hours, as this will have a devastating impact on both staff and the safety and services offered to the travelling public. The latest proposals from the company will also result in a massive increase in lone working including late at night.
GTR are also totally ignoring the thousands of passengers who clearly indicated in our high profile public campaign that they are appalled by the planned closure of ticket offices and the swingeing cuts to opening hours. They have failed to address the views of station staff and have ignored the objections from RMT and our sister rail unions. If these changes come in the union believes it will mean all station staff could be forced onto flexible working with an increased workload.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said;
“The Govia Thamelink franchise is in meltdown and not fit for purpose. Not content with axing catering services, closing ticket offices and attacking the role of their guards they now want to threaten 130 station jobs and compromise the safety of both their passengers and staff alike. Our members have made it clear that they will not stand by while this basket-case franchise unleashes yet another attack on jobs and services in the drive for profits and that is why we have no option but to take strike action.
“These cuts plans fly in the face of the response from the thousands of passengers who objected to the closure of ticket offices and the de-staffing of stations as Govia drives on with plans for a “faceless railway” where the public are left to fend for themselves on rammed-out, dangerous and unreliable services.
“It is about time Govia Thameslink started acting responsibly, halted their cuts plans and got round the table with the union in serious and genuine talks.”