Southern aims to run most trains during RMT strike

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Southern will be aiming to run most of its train services during next week’s rail strike.

During the last walkout by the RMT union back in February, rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway says it was able to run almost nine out of ten trains, with more than half of on-board staff reporting for work.

Since April 2016 the union has held a month’s worth of strikes in its dispute with GTR over the introduction of driver-only operation on Southern services, which is where drivers are responsible for opening and closing train doors.

RMT members, who are being transferred from the role of conductors to on-board supervisors, are due to take part in a 24-hour walkout on Monday March 13.

Angie Doll, Southern’s passenger services director, said: “We’ve shown that we can now run almost all our services during an RMT strike. Our on-board supervisors are now established in their roles and passengers are beginning to see the benefits of having someone whose sole job is customer service.”

Announcing the strike, Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “The abject failure by Southern Rail to meet with us, to clarify their exact position on the second safety-critical member of staff and to take the safety issues seriously has left us with no option but to confirm further action.

“These disputes could have been settled if Southern/GTR had sat down and listened to our case and given the guarantee of a second-safety critical member of staff on their trains.

“We now have the best part of two weeks before the next phase of action for the company to take the issues at the core of this dispute seriously, get round the table with the union and negotiate a settlement.

“It is now down to Southern/GTR to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address the fundamental issue of rail safety on their services. RMT expects the company to take up that offer from the union as a matter of urgency.”

Full details of service changes can be found at www.southernrailway.com/strike

Passengers can claim compensation if they are delayed by 15 minutes or more at www.southernrailway.com/delayrepay

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