Rail union announces strike action

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A rail union has announced strike action over ongoing disputes with Southern Rail.

Members of the RMT will strike on Monday, January 8, over the dispute about driver-only trains and the role of conductors.

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements in these separate disputes with the different train operating companies over safe operation and safe staffing has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action in the New Year.

“No one should be in any doubt, these disputes are about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies.”

Andy Bindon, Human Resources Director at Govia Thameslink Railway, parent company of Southern, said: “We are very disappointed by today’s announcement of a further RMT strike in the New Year.

“Their decision is even more regrettable as it comes on the same day that we had invited them to talks in the hope of reaching a resolution to their long-running dispute.

“We ask them to call off the strike and come to the negotiating table as we have suggested on many occasions.”

On previous RMT strike days, Southern has been able to run a normal service on most routes, with around 90 per cent of the timetable in operation overall, a spokesman said, adding that passengers will by updated on plans for the strike day in due course.

Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, said: “Everyone should regret that this dispute is not at an end.

“Rail staff know it is neither justified nor effective. I hope it will be called off.

“There has been enough unnecessary suffering.

“Rail staff jobs are not at risk.”