Rail Union RMT confirmed today that guards and drivers on Southern Rail will strike again on the 22nd February in the on-going disputes over the safety impact of the extension of Driver Only Operation and the removal of guards from services.
Members will strike for 24 hours between 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Wednesday 22nd February 2017.
The announcement comes after talks between RMT and Southern in the guards dispute with their press announcement saying that ‘ were deliberately wrecked yesterday by the company as they made a mockery of the negotiating process and chose to completely ignore the safety issues at the heart of the matter’
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“The abject failure by Southern Rail in yesterday’s talks 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 listened to our case and given the guarantee of a second-safety critical member of staff on their trains.
“Instead they have shifted the goal posts even further and have now created a “strike breakers’ charter” where one of the numerous new conditions where trains can run driver-only is during industrial action. That is simply scandalous and a measure of the betrayal of our members as a result of the TUC-brokered deal with Southern in the drivers’ dispute.”
“The full detail of Southern’s plan is far worse than anyone could have anticipated. This is dire news, not just for staff, but for passengers who rightly demand a safe, reliable and accessible service. RMT will not walk away from the fight for a railway that puts public safety before private profit.
“It is now down to Southern/GTR to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address our issues.”
In response to the RMT announcement of a 24-hour conductors’ strike next Wednesday, 22 February, Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, Southern’s parent company, said:
“We are disappointed that the RMT is going to heap yet further misery and disruption on the travelling public. We aim to run as full a service as we can.”
During the last conductor strike, on 23 January, Southern ran around three-quarters of its normal service.