26 November 2015
RMT Press Office
RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that it is to ballot nearly 400 conductors on Southern Rail for strike action and action short of a strike over a range of issues which have led to a comprehensive breakdown in industrial relations:
• Failure to deal with rostering issues raised by the union despite prolonged negotiations
• Abuse of the Conductors Restructuring Agreement
• Insufficient establishment levels to cover work
Despite strenuous efforts by RMT officials to resolve these issues through negotiation the company have dug their heels in meaning that no agreement has been reached.
In fact, Southern management has completely failed to address the present establishment levels which are not fit for purpose, the serious issues that the Conductors have with the present rosters and the continued unfair rostering of staff which is a blatant abuse of the Conductors Restructuring Agreement.
The result has been chronic staffing shortages which have left RMT members run-ragged including a shocking mishandling of arrangements for the extra services needed to get the public backwards and forwards from the bonfire night events in Lewes.
The ballot, for both strike action and action short of a strike, will open next week and close on the 15th December. The union is required to give seven days notice in event of any action being taken.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The staffing shortages on Southern are a disgrace. This is a vital and lucrative franchise where commuters pay thousands of pounds a year to travel on services that are chronically under-staffed and RMT members have had enough of it.
“We have no option now but to ballot for action in the run up to Christmas. This union will not sit back while staffing levels are pared to the bone and our members run ragged solely in the interests of private company profits.
“We will be explaining to the travelling public, who are also the victims of this corner-cutting policy, why we are being forced down this road and we will be asking them to assist us in putting pressure on the company. RMT remains available for talks.”